Town of Taos declares water emergency, implements restrictions
Marian Camacho and Kai Porter
April 20, 2018 06:43 PM
TAOS, N.M. – The town of Taos has declared a water emergency after a critical pump at the town’s primary wells suffered a severe mechanical failure.
In response, the town has declared a Stage 5 Water Emergency and put into place several water restrictions. Officials say the town’s ability to get through this crises is dependent on the help of residents in abiding by these restrictions.
"Our ability to get through this temporary crises is dependent on the cooperation of all residents and businesses," the statement says. "If we all cooperate and use water wisely, then everyone should experience minimal inconvenience.
Town Manager Rick Bellis said there's enough water in storage tanks and water supplemented from neighboring systems that should be able to keep the taps flowing in the northern New Mexico town.
But they're still asking residents and businesses to conserve as much water is possible.
There's a concern some customers could lose pressure as the storage tanks start to drain, creating a potentially dangerous situation.
"Our concern is the water pressure and with the number of fires that have popped up,” Bellis said. “We've been going through a lot of water in our fire department. The other thing is if the water pressure drops in the commercial buildings, fire alarm systems start going off because they don't think there's enough water, but really it's just the system."
Bellis said the well should be repaired by Monday.
The water restrictions now in effect include:
- No outdoor watering of watering of lawns, athletic fields, parks, gardens or trees and no use of irrigation systems on Town water.
- No filling of pools, fountains or ponds.
- No use of temporary meters for construction or filling from fire hydrants by anyone other than public fire departments is prohibited.
- Residents are asked to use bottled water for drinking and pets when possible.
- Residents are asked to use showers rather than baths and limit to five-minutes when possible.
- Limit serving tap water in restaurants only to when requested by customers.
- No open/outdoor burning.
Officials are asking all residents to be sure to have a supply of bottled water in their homes available for cooking, washing, flushing toilets and emergency needs in case you lose water for a period of time.
In a water emergency, customers may experience one of the following.
- Loss of water pressure as the storage tanks are drawn down. The lower water pressure can also impact indoor fire prevention systems and fire hydrants that are dependent on the town’s water supply.
- Limited fire protection. Water-charged fire suppression systems may not perform as designed due to the lack of water pressure. Officials recommend keeping fire extinguishers on hand and be sure to check they are operable.
- Air surges within plumbing. Pockets of air may become entrapped within the plumbing. That could result in water spurts, noises, and pipe rattling.
- Cross connections are probable. Officials warn residents that if they are spraying any type of chemical for plants or grass to stop immediately.
For more information, click here.
The town's water crisis has led to some closures. According to the KOB.com, UNM Taos, Taos County Offices are closed Friday. The 8th Judicial District Court will close at noon.
Marian Camacho and Kai Porter
Updated: April 20, 2018 06:43 PM
Created: April 19, 2018 08:54 PM
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