A large wildfire started by the federal government has left inhabitants’ typical sources of water filled with ash and burned debris, and a community in New Mexico is less than one month away from running out of fresh water as a result.
Only around 20 days’ worth of water are left in Las Vegas, New Mexico, a town of 13,000 people with the shares name with the city of Nevada metropolis, according to a report on CNN on Saturday.
The issue has been escalating ever since last spring when the largest wildfire in state history raged in the area, which is east of Santa Fe.
When two fires scheduled by the U.S. Forest Service accidentally merged in April and May due to extreme dryness and strong winds, around 340,000 acres were damaged. The purpose of the controlled burning was to stop a fire from spreading rapidly. Instead, they ejected thousands of individuals from their residences.
The rains that followed only made the situation worse. Rainfall is usually a pleasant sight, but given the severe drought that is presently affecting most of the West, the showers actually made the Gallinas River unusable by dumping ash and debris into it. The Peterson Reservoir, which is close, was similarly poisoned. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, a local newspaper, Las Vegas has started to drink from the Bradner Reservoir, which has few resources.
On June 3, 2022, a gauge in the vicinity of Nambe, New Mexico, records water levels on the Rio Nambe despite severe drought conditions in the region.
Officials believe that a band-aid solution will afford them more time. Our fingers are crossed, said Las Vegas Mayor Louie Trujillo to CNN, that a nearby lake will continue to supply safe drinking water for a few more months.
Trujillo stated to the Associated Press last month that although locals are accustomed to droughts, the present situation is particularly aggravating. He assigns sole responsibility for the situation on the federal government.
According to Trujillo, “We’re going to keep holding them accountable and expecting them to pay for all of the changes that we’re going to need to make.”