The water table has dropped almost 20 feet since January due to the persistent drought that has plagued nearly all of New Mexico for three years. In Magdalena, about 1,000 residents and several businesses were without water Wednesday when the level dropped below the well’s intake.
Matt Holmes of the New Mexico Rural Water Association says the problem is a combination of drought and infrastructure.
Magdalena officials have put in a request with the State Engineer’s Office to drill a new well, but that could take a week or two. For now, the community will have to rely on water tenders from Socorro and White Sands Missile Range.
“We’re delivering potable water to residents, especially the elderly and small children we’re concerned about,” village Marshal Larry Cearley said. “We can only deliver so much water for so long.”
The village is also ordering cases of water from stores in nearby Socorro.
Magdalena is not alone. Across the state’s eastern plains, livestock wells stand empty and ranchers are selling their cattle. Domestic wells near Santa Fe and Las Vegas have been going dry, and reservoirs across the state have reached record lows.
Cearley said Wednesday that Magdalena has applied to the State Engineer’s Office for the last four years to get a second well drilled and has been denied each time. He added that money to do the work has been tight.
The State Engineer’s Office did not return messages seeking comment.