CHAMA, N.M. (KRQE) – Right in the middle of their busiest tourist season and during New Mexico’s wildfire season, people in Chama are completely out of water. Chama has been dealing with water shortages and leaks for a few weeks now, but today is the first day they are completely out.
Mayor Ernest Vigil believes this all started from a water leak at their treatment plant, which has lost millions of gallons of water in the last six weeks. Vigil said he has reached out to everyone for help. But they have received no assistance. The Village of Chama feels like they are being ignored.
“We declared a state of emergency here last Sunday. According to the state of New Mexico they never received it. And I don’t understand why. We sent one to our chief of staff we sent one to all these people that are on my list and basically I think we were ignored,” said Mayor Vigil.
Vigil said this has been an ongoing issue for at least 3 years; when the village’s water system was repaired. He said the water plant lasted about three months and has never worked quite right.
The Rural Water Association gave the village a water buffalo which they parked outside city hall where people can fill up their water bottles. There’s also a truck filled with potable water to help residents flush their toilets.
The mayor said if residents need help getting the drinking water or potable water, the fire department will most likely be able to deliver it. “I don’t know what to tell my people. This is my town. This is where we live. It’s just killing me that I don’t have answers,” said Vigil.
Vigil said the village needs 700,000 gallons of water to be able to function. They also need water in order to find the area of the leak.
The state claims as soon as it heard of the problem on June 10, it stepped in to help deliver up to 20,000 gallons of water a day as well as pallets of bottled water. The state says it encourages the village to use $800,000 in unspent capital outlay funds to fix the leak, offering technical assistance if they need it.