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Some in Placitas get water rations

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Lack of snowpack, ongoing drought and high temperatures have forced one water system in Placitas to ration supplies to homes it serves in the historic village.

Several weeks ago, the Village Water Board began notifying residents that they would only get water for about five hours in the morning and evening.

“It started getting drastic in the last three weeks. The more heat we get, the less water we have,” said Water Board President Burt Delara.

The Village Water Board, one of several small water systems in Placitas, supplies water to about 180 households in and around the village.

Delara is hopeful the rationing will enable the Water Board to continue to supply homes in the village through the summer.

“If not, we have to start trucking water in – if we can find any,” Delara said.

The Water Board depends on a snow and rain-fed spring to fill a storage tank. At present the spring is flowing about 16 gallons per minute thanks to paltry winter snowpack and lack of rain. In years when there is plentiful snow and rain, it flows at 60 gallons to 70 gallons per minute, he said.

“We’re asking people to use the water just for indoors. If they lose trees, they can be replaced,” Delara said.

He said the Water Board had to ration water last summer when the spring flow dropped off.

“But the water level wasn’t as low. We’ve had some other rough times but never as rough as this,” he said.

A lifelong resident of Placitas, Delara said it reminded him of a drought in the 1950s when many local families lost their orchards.

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