Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Portales evaluating water situation this week

The city of Portales’ Water Department began scheduled “cleaning and evaluation services” on its well field last week. If the completed report shows production “of an additional 500 gallons per minute,” the city’s guidelines on watering could be less restrictive.

A “limited Stage 3 restriction” would allow for even-numbered street addresses to water on Tuesdays and odd-numbered street addresses to water on Thursdays between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., the city announced in a Wednesday news release.

City Manager Sarah Austin said she had no idea what the report might show.

“(H)opefully we know soon,” she wrote in a text message to The News. But she said results will probably not be known until late next month or in December.

The city in June declared a Stage 3 “water emergency” that places restrictions on customer use. Those restrictions include no landscape watering except for trees, shrubs and vegetable gardens with shut-off hoses or hand-held containers. No residential car washing is allowed and residents are not allowed to refill spas or swimming pools, under the restrictions.

The city’s wellfield, which includes 48 wells, has produced about 2,300 gallons per minute, Austin told the City Council in late August.

“It is enough to sustain what we need but not enough for extensive use,” Austin said.

Wednesday’s news release stated the most recent services will include cleaning of wells and ensuring all valves are in proper working order. “During this time, the water well yield will be evaluated and documented,” the release stated.

The release also states, “If the City can maintain a tank level of twenty feet or more, then another evaluation will be conducted, that second evaluation will determine if the restrictions can be moved to a Stage 2.”

“It is imperative that the community can continue to work together on water conservation efforts to maintain our valuable resource. The City will continue working towards well field expansion, water storage, and property acquisition to increase the water resources. Staff will continue working towards solutions to the water crisis.”

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