Las Vegas Mayor Ortiz: “Water problem getting worse by the day”
Las Vegas New Mexico is currently in Stage 4 Water Restrictions, a state of emergency has been declared, and there is only about 70 days left of water for the City-“and it’s just getting worse by the day,” says LV Mayor Alfonso Ortiz.
On May 31, 2010 the Gallinas River was flowing at 17.6 million gallons per day, whereas on May 31, 2011 the Gallinas River was flowing at 1.7 million gallons per day. The river going dry is an understatement considering it was flowing 10 times more water just a year ago.
The Gallinas River running dry is crucial because the City gets roughly 90% of their water from the river and about 10% from pumping the Taylor Wells. But then there is an issue for all the residents of Romeroville and Sheridan where the Taylor Wells is pumping the water out of an aquifer that residents claim is an aquifer that doesn’t replenish itself. (Many residents have had to drill deeper wells for what they claim is a problem the city created by over pumping the Taylor Wells)
With the City lacking an abundant source of water, many leaks throughout the delivery system, as well as a busted damn that requires fixing, the City Council and Mayor are trying all they can with the limited funds in a recessed economy. Even if a source of water could be found, there are still major leaks at Peterson damn which holds roughly 67 million gallons of water as well as major underground leaks throughout the City’s delivery system.
“All the water lines in the City are old pipes,” says Mayor Ortiz. “We need a lot more than $20 million dollars.”
The Mayor estimates to solve this ongoing problem may be near $200 million dollars over the course of time to solve issues for identifying a source, fixing Peterson Damn, repairing the major leaks in the old pipes, and creating a new storage area if a new water source is ever identified.