Residents to apply for water grant

The scope of water issues in south Clovis is more far reaching than Curry County officials anticipated based on a meeting held to identify problems.

Tuesday night, the county held a meeting at Lockwood Elementary School to talk with residents and get a feel for how many people are experiencing water shortages.

Residents south of Brady Avenue, between State Road 467 and east of U.S. 70 turned out to see what can be done.

“(The broad range of residents) kind of surprised us. We didn’t know how far this reached,” said Grant Coordinator Rachel Visser. “We had just heard from two neighbors (west of U.S. 70, but) it’s not only just that area but north of them, south of them — it’s all around.”

Of the 45 people who attended, Visser said 14 households are experiencing problems with their water wells, such as no water, low water levels or pumping air or sand.

State officials have said while all of Curry County is facing imminent water crisis, the southern region, from Brady Avenue to the Roosevelt County line, is already experiencing problems with dropping water levels and wells going dry.

Visser said the meeting was the first step in identifying the problems and number of people affected so the county can apply for a $500,000 emergency grant.

The grant would be used to bring infrastructure into the area so residents can connect to lines and receive water service from New Mexico American Water.

Though bringing water lines to an area as expansive as the one affected will likely cost more than $500,000, Visser said it is a beginning to a solution.

“We’re hoping that this will just be the first step into finding funding sources that are out there and help to alleviate the problem as soon as possible,” she said.

“We’re definitely not discouraged that it will take more than $500,00. We know there’s funding out there somewhere.”

She said the county plans to work with the assessors office to map out a grid of the affected area to try and get a feel for how many people reside in the zone experiencing issues.

Residents are also being asked to submit any documentation they have of well testing or issues they have experienced with their water.

Submissions have a deadline of July 15 and residents are asked not to send documentation by mail, but to e-mail or hand deliver submissions to expedite the process.

Once the information is compiled, she said it will be presented to the county commission at a July 19 meeting to seek approval to move forward with the grant application by August.

“It is such a crucial thing for us to get done, we need to get it done as quickly possible,” she said.

About a month ago, Curry Road M resident Darlene Upham approached the county commission and asked for help with the water issues in here area.

She said she was pleased to see the Tuesday meeting so well attended.

“I feel really good. I’m glad we had a good turnout and they answered all our questions,” she said.

“I really hope we’re going to get something done.”

In recent years, Upham has had to replace one well that went dry and said her well now has 13 feet of water left in it, depleting at three feet a year.

Upham said she lives with a growing fear that her well will run dry and she will be left with a worthless property that isn’t habitable.

Prior to the meeting, she said she made contact with neighbors and tried to get the word out so people would attend.