High-plains village running dry

MAXWELL, N.M. (KRQE) — Any amount of precipitation would be a welcomed relief for one town in northern New Mexico.

The situation is so extreme some residents say the water pressure is not even strong enough for a shower.

In the village of Maxwell about 30 miles south of Raton water is a precious resource.
Melissa Gutierrez said it gets pretty bad.

“When I was taking a shower, the water completely turned off on me,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh super. Super awesome. Now I'm in a cold shower waiting for the water to come back.’”

Village officials have been asking everyone to conserve water sending out reminders each month for the past three years.

Gutierrez said it's difficult with a family of six going on seven, but she is trying by giving up on her garden and changing daily chores.

“When you are washing dishes, the kids have learned to fill up the sink, pile all the dishes in the sink and rinse them off instead of letting the water run.”

Drought has driven down water levels beneath the village.

Village Clerk Joanna Taylor said the state approved Maxwell for a $300,000 grant back in May 2011. The plan is to use that money to rehabilitate two of the wells including digging deeper to get to the water.

“This is taking a lot longer than we anticipated,” Taylor said.

She said 30 people have filed complaints with the village within the past three weeks, and more have called concerned.

But Taylor said she is confident everything is going to be OK.

“We are not running out of water,” she said.

The village is waiting for approval from the state to start a 30-day bidding process to find someone to do the drilling.

In the meantime, life is going to be a little different for people in Maxwell.

“When you are living in the city, you can brush your teeth with the water running and take a 45-minute hot shower, but here you just, you can't,” Gutierrez said.

Fire danger is, of course, a major concern there. Taylor said the village has a pumper tanker on loan from an area fire department and has firefighters in surrounding cities on standby to respond and bring water if there is a fire.

The village mayor said Maxwell is going to work with the state to get the well improvements taken care of as soon as possible.

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New Mexico (change)

New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.
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Governor: Susana Martinez
Lieutenant Governor: John Sanchez
Attorney General: Gary King
Secretary of State: Dianna J. Durán

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