Magdalena is out of water due to dried out well

Posted at: 06/05/2013 6:40 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The village of Magdalena is out of water, thanks to a well that has run out of water and caved in near the small town in rugged ranching country west of Socorro.

About 1,000 people depend on the village well for their drinking water, but the drought and a dropping water table have turned that well into a hole full of dust.

You can’t drink dust, or flush a toilet with it or use it to put out a fire. The solution? Drill a new well, but hold on, under state regulations that could take weeks and require permits and engineering studies.

It’s not like village leaders didn’t see this coming, they did.

“For the last four years we’ve applied for assistance from the state to help drill a new well,” said town marshal Larry Cearley. “We always knew we were probably going to need a backup well. That money was all denied, always denied.”

“That’s crazy,” said village resident Matt Middleton. “They wouldn’t be expecting that of Rio Rancho or Santa Fe, but when you get in the rural, when you get out here in the sticks, now all of a sudden, oh you have to jump through this hoop and you have to jump through that hoop.”

“We’re trying to get prepared for and doing what we can,” said Darrell Pettis who owns a café and the town saloon. “One good thing about it is we’re going to have a lot of cold beer. That’s the best we can do, but our food business is really going to suffer.”

Meanwhile the village is handing out bottled water, with tankfulls on the way from neighboring communities, and chemical toilets on the way, too.

People in Magdalena like to talk about how life has always been a struggle in this high and dry ranching town, but it’s drier than ever now and no quick solution in sight.