Taos pump fails, town issues emergency water restrictions

Officials say parts on way; situation resolved by Monday


UPDATED 4:30 p.m. 4/20/2018: Taos officials say the towns water tanks are full due to the help of area mutual domestic water systems and residents will still have water over the weekend. Crews and parts to replace a failed water pump are currently en route and the town hopes to have the situation resolved by Monday (April 23) afternoon. Water restrictions, though, are still in effect. 

The town of Taos declared a stage five water emergency after the mechanical failure of a pump in well 5 in the town's water system Thursday (April 19).

Most schools, town and county offices were closed Friday (April 20) to conserve water until the situation could be resolved. The Taos Youth and Family Center also was closed. 

The town council officially declared a municipal state of emergency Thursday afternoon and approved water conservation efforts and restrictions.

The resolution authorizes the town to enter procurement agreements with El Prado Water and Sanitation to maintain a supply of water to residents and emergency services in town. 

Those who use town water will continue to receive water, however, some customers may be experiencing a drop in water pressure. Town officials say this drop in pressure could affect some indoor fire prevention systems.

"We are working as quickly as possible in order to fix what we have to fix," said Karina Armijo, town information officer.

According to Armijo, the town council held an emergency session at 4 p.m. to declare the emergency and the town emergency management team held meeting at 5 p.m. to discuss next steps in addressing the problem. 

The town is imposing water restrictions for the next 72 hours to maintain "close to normal" water pressure, according to a press release. Town officials are requesting residents to reduce their water usage during this emergency.

Due to the 46-year-old pump's failure, the town has established the following restrictions:

• No outdoor watering of lawns, athletic fields, parks, gardens or trees, no filling of pools, fountains or ponds, and no use of irrigation systems on Town water.

• No washing of windows, buildings, patios, sidewalks or streets.

• The use of temporary meters for construction or filling from fire hydrants by anyone other than public fire departments is prohibited.

• Use bottled water for drinking and pets, when possible.

• Use showers, rather than baths and limit use to 5 minutes, where possible.

• Limit serving water tap water in restaurants only to when requested by customers.

• No open/outdoor burning. High winds and low humidity at this time have resulted in a total burn ban. No outside burning is permitted.

• Have a supply of bottled water in your house available for cooking, washing, flushing toilets and emergency needs in case you lose water for any period of time.

Town officials are advising that violators may be shut off for not adhering to the restrictions set in place.

A march planned Friday by students and supporters in support of an effort to end gun violence in schools will still take place, say organizers.