New Mexico American Water Gains Emergency Authorization to Use Wells More Efficiently

April 2, 2010

CLOVIS, N.M., April 2 /PRNewswire/ — On March 31, 2010, the New Mexico Office of State Engineer approved an emergency authorization relating to New Mexico American Water’s application to combine water rights for wells producing potable water for the Clovis water system. New Mexico American Water filed the application on July 30, 2008 and anticipated the need for emergency authorization at that time in anticipation of possible water shortages in the Clovis area as a result of the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer in eastern New Mexico.

New Mexico American Water has water rights for over 51,000 acre feet of water and uses about 7,100 acre feet annually to supply Clovis. Each of the 59 wells that currently supply water to Clovis has a set water right assigned to it. Some of these wells are no longer capable of pumping the full amount of the water right assigned to the well, other wells have more water capacity available, but are limited by the water rights currently assigned to that well.

“Ten years ago, it took 29 wells to supply Clovis. This summer it will take 62 wells to produce about the same amount of water,” said Kathy Wright, New Mexico American Water’s general manager. “Managing our water rights comprehensively will help offset the drop in the Ogallala.”

In order to operate these wells more efficiently and provide an adequate water supply for Clovis this summer and into the future, New Mexico American Water asked to combine its water rights. In the context of the application process NMAW created a pumping schedule which allows for a small change in pumping to 15 wells to meet the peak water demands but does not harm other well owners. This application and pumping schedule were reviewed extensively by the experts for the Office of the State Engineer who determined that allowing NMAW to pump its wells in accordance with the pumping schedule is not likely to impair existing water rights and has now issued emergency authorization.

“Some of our wells have more water rights than ‘wet’ water that they can produce; other wells are capable of producing more water but are limited by their water rights,” said Wright. “The OSE approval for combining water rights will allow us to manage our water rights and wellfield more efficiently and will help us combat water shortages this summer.”

Conservation is also critically important to reduce water demand during peak demand periods to ensure that we have an adequate water supply for our community. New Mexico American Water has worked with the City of Clovis to develop a water management ordinance and has created rebate programs and communications that help customers use less water. New Mexico American Water will launch its annual conservation campaign in the coming weeks to ask customers to follow the three day a week watering schedule with odd numbered addresses watering on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and even numbered addresses watering on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. New Mexico American Water also encourages everyone in the community to take advantage of rebates to install water efficient toilets, clothes washers and landscaping.

“On a hot day, people in Clovis use about twice as much water as they normally would. This summer, it’s going to be a challenge to meet those high demands,” said Wright. “I’m asking customers to take advantage of our rebates to install appliances and landscaping that save water, follow our three day a week watering schedule, and use water wisely.”

New Mexico American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and related services to approximately 60,000 people.

Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 16 million people in 35 states, as well as Ontario and Manitoba, Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com.

SOURCE New Mexico American Water

Source: newswire

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