U.S. Water News Online
LAS VEGAS, N.M. -- Outdoor watering is prohibited under new
water restrictions for the 18,000 customers of the Las Vegas, N.M.
water system. The city moved from a Stage I to a Stage III water
emergency because it no longer can rely on water supplies from a
nearby lake. City Manager Morris Madrid announced the water
Storrie Lake helps supplement the city's two reservoirs in
Gallinas Canyon, which is on the east slope of the Sangre de Cristo
Mountains. However, the lake's water level has dropped to a point
near the access pipe through which the city draws its share of water.
The city annually leases 500 acre-feet of water from the Storrie
Lake Water Users Association, whose members also have been drawing
from the lake. Recently, the popular fishing and boating lake north
of Las Vegas stood 46 feet below normal.
The Gallinas Creek, which refills both the reservoirs and the
lake, received very little runoff from snow melt and summer rain. The
stream was producing between 900,000 and 1.2 million gallons of water
a day, according to Las Vegas utilities administrator Richard R.
Trujillo. However, Las Vegas water users have been drawing out an
average of about 2.3 million gallons a day. Trujillo expects water
use to drop to 1.8 million gallons once the new restrictions are in
While the city has received a few soaking rains in the last couple
of weeks, little rain has fallen in the Gallinas Watershed.
The restrictions also mean hotels will be asked to change linens
in rooms only when guests check out, car washes can operate only on
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays and coin-operated
laundries must choose two days a week to close.
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