LAS VEGAS, N.M. (KRQE) – The city of Las Vegas is dangerously close to running out of water, and is now asking people to limit their water use. People in Las Vegas knew they were running out of water, but the situation is worse than they thought. “We only have less than 40 days of water. So it’s a bit worrisome,” said Tabatha Johnson, who lives right next to the Gallinas watershed treatment center.
Flooding in the Hermit’s Peak Calf Canyon burn scar areas has polluted the city of Las Vegas’ water. “We have 63 million gallons of treatable water. With the 63 million gallons of water, it is the equivalent of 40 days water to the community,” said Maria Gilvarry, who is with the city of Las Vegas Utilities Department.
Las Vegas and surrounding areas are now under a stage 7 water restriction level, which is almost the highest level. Residents are being asked to limit their water use. “That is 4 thousand gallons for your average household, specifically 44 gallons per person per day,” said Gilvarry.
Some families, like the Johnson’s, say that just won’t cut it. “I have nine people that live in my household, I have got myself, my husband, my five kids, and then I have got my aunt and my uncle. So, it is, you know, 44 gallons a day is really not doable for me. I have got to get my kids bathed, I have got animals drinking water, I’ve got you know, laundry to do dishes” said Johnson.
A temporary fix is drawing water from Storrie Lake and treating it for municipal use. The city is also waiting for the arrival of a temporary pre-treatment system that will treat the water in the Gallinas River.
“Our treatment plant cannot treat this kind of water. The amount of turbidity, the suspended solvents in this water is just not treatable by our system,” said Gilvarry.
A city council meeting was held Wednesday to discuss a more long-term plan, including an entirely new water treatment plant that they will need help from the state to implement. But for now, residents say something needs to be done before it’s too late. “They want to bring in a filtration system and we’re 40 days out, there’s no way they’re going to get that in and get us more water by the time we lose water,” said Johnson.
The temporary pre-treatment system was ordered this week and parts should start arriving by next week. The city hopes to get it up and running as soon as possible. For anyone in Las Vegas who needs clean water, the city will be distributing bottled water next Wednesday at the rec center.