BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Belen is working to solve a 20-year-old mystery. Millions of gallons of water are going unaccounted for every month. City officials tell us they’re pumping out much more water than they are getting paid for in resident’s bills.
Belen’s mayor believes the city has lost 8 to 17 million gallons of water every year for the past 20 years. “It could be that certain facilities aren’t metered properly so it’s not accounting for that water. It could mean that it’s actual water loss which means we’re pumping it out of the ground and it’s going to our system then at some point it’s just leaking from the system back into the water table,” says Mayor Jerah Cordova.
The city has just launched a 90-day investigation into its water issue. They’ve hired consulting firm “Resource Wise” to examine the entire water system.
Mayor Jerah Cordova says it’s important to get to the bottom of this so those paying their bills aren’t also covering for those using water illegally.
“This new company is coming in is going to take a look at the whole system not only the actual infrastructure but also the software we have water lines that run outside of city limits that have been there for three or four decades things like that. We want to make sure that all of those account holders that may be using the water are being properly metered,” Cordova says.
About five years ago, the city installed digital water meters throughout town. After doing that they did discover a few illegal taps and even some schools that didn’t have proper metering. Those fixes didn’t solve the bigger problem
The city says research-wise will use technology to hear where the water is going, and they will also use drones to examine fields and grassy areas.