El Prado sends more water to Taos

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Following nearly two weeks of water restrictions after aging pumps failed, residents in the town of Taos may be looking at another round of limits after more issues with town well No. 4.

After two pump failures in April, the town council voted to enact a municipal state of emergency calling for the replacement of two town pumps and enacted "Stage 5 " water restrictions to conserve water. Town pumps in wells Nos. 4 and 5 were replaced and the water restrictions were lifted; however, a new issue with the pumps has arisen and the town is racing to find a solution.

"The well is online, but we need for that well to be pumping at capacity, which should be at 300 gpm (gallons per minute), and right now, it's only at 150," said town of Taos Public Works Director Fransisco Espinoza.

As of Wednesday 5 p.m., the town had not yet officially called for new water restrictions.

According to Espinoza, the debris screen on a pump was damaged and was bringing up debris with the water. Concerns arose that the pump might be drawing in dirt and rocks, so the pump was raised, and its capacity was reduced. According to Town Manager Rick Bellis, the screen has been replaced and a new pump has been ordered. Officials plan to have the pump situation resolved by the end of the week.

While the pump has been operating at half its needed capacity, town residents still enjoyed their water over the weekend after the water restrictions were lifted. This increase in usage drained the well faster than the pump could keep up, and water from El Prado Water and Sanitation was brought in once again to keep town tanks full.

According to El Prado Water and Sanitation Director Christine Dimas, the interconnection valve between the two entities was opened, and water was sent to the town at around 5:30 p.m. on Monday (May 7). As of Wednesday afternoon (May 9), water remained flowing from El Prado to the town's wells.

"We're approaching summer, we can't keep doing this," Dimas said. "We have to look after our own system, and we have to take care of our own wells."

While Dimas clarified that El Prado would still send water to the town as long as they had it, the district must first make sure they had the abilities to adhere to the water agreement between Taos and El Prado. According to El Prado Water officials, no El Prado customers have been affected by the water transfer to Taos, and enough water remains in El Prado's wells to service their customers.

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