SILVER CITY — A resolution recognizing a water emergency in Grant County was approved unanimously Thursday during the county commission’s regular meeting.
The resolution, which is the first of its kind, according to District 1 Commissioner Gabriel Ramos, is intended to alert Grant County residents of the serious water conditions the area faces in light of nearly 800 acre-feet of water — more than 500,000 gallons — exiting the Tri-City Waste Water Treatment Facility per day and going into the nearby dam tailings, where it then becomes unusable when it mixes with the process water from the mine. Ramos said the situation is particularly dire because of the extreme drought conditions that Grant County continues to face.
“We re declaring an emergency to show people how serious we are about that,” Ramos said. “It’s a very serious problem.”
The resolution calls on community members to not waste water and also to support projects that address the water loss, particularly a city of Bayard plan that aims to reuse 150 to 170 acre-feet of water to irrigate parks and fields in the city, as well as a project that would see a water reservoir built in the Fort Bayard area, near Twin Sisters Creek.
The Twin Sisters Creek reservoir, which Ramos said he hopes would be built within the next six to eight years, depending on funding and community support, will not only conserve much of the wasted water in Bayard, but also replenish groundwater in the surrounding communities, especially in Santa Clara, where about 150 acre-feet of water rights are unusable because of infrastructure limits, according to Ramos.
Santa Clara Mayor Richard Bauch said that in addition to the access to the additional water, the reservoir would potentially add jobs and tourism prospects to the area. The village of Santa Clara passed a resolution in favor of the project in December.
“I d like to see all of us as small communities come together and try to settle this issue,” Ramos said.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal