ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The New Mexico Environment Department has identified 290 public water systems that operate off of only one well or spring, which state officials say is a risk for the communities served by these systems.
"The risk is that if that well or spring dries up or becomes contaminated, they have a water supply emergency," Source Water Protection Manager Dennis McQuillan told News 13.
The village of Magdalena illustrated the issue earlier this month. Magdalena was being served by a single well when the pump ran dry in early June.
McQuillan said the ground water was being pumped out faster than it could naturally recharge, a problem aggravated by the ongoing drought. According to McQuillan, ground water depletion is a problem statewide.
"We are receiving reports from across the state of water wells that are drying up, water wells that are decreasing in production, and the same thing with springs," McQuillan said.
One of the 290 water systems identified is in Wagon Mound, which gets its water from a single spring. The village is working with the state to come up with a plan to upgrade its water system, and find a backup water source.
"We all need to do a better job of conserving the water we have, using it wisely, and that includes reusing wastewater," McQuillan said. "I think ultimately, we'll be looking at developing sources of salty groundwater."
Eleven requests for assistance have come into the state Environment Department from communities experiencing water shortages so far. Officials said they'll soon be reaching out to the communities they believe are the highest at risk.
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