“It’s not that I wanted to be real green, though I like being green,” Axness said one recent morning as the sun beat down on a layer of snow blanketing his neighborhood four miles northeast of Intel’s Sandoval County computer chip plant. Behind him, solar panels tapped into the morning sun’s energy while the steady drips from the metal roof slowly filled the cisterns that surround the spacious home.
The cisterns are Axness’ practical solution to a quintessentially Rio Rancho problem. The lot is located in that sprawling, platted part of the city’s suburban edge that did not have water lines. Axness bought years ago, and expected a water line would be extended past the property by the time he was ready to build on it. When that did not happen, he realized he was faced with a cost of more than $50,000 to install pipe to get city water to his house, so he began exploring the alternatives.