Officials meet to prepare for next natural disaster

Posted at: 10/24/2013 6:31 PM
By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4

New Mexico is all too familiar with the sights of flooded communities to ravaging wildfires, but also a persistent problem: the drought.

Albuquerque is fortunate enough to live right next to the Rio Grande, a major water supply. Other villages don't have that luxury.

The small village of Magdalena dried up in June. They needed to have water be shipped in from all over the state. The key: have a plan!

"There's a lot of communities that do have plans and there's a lot of communities that don't either. It's our goal to reach out to those that don't and help them," said Butch Tongate, the Deputy Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Environment Department.

Today, he talked to community leaders about how to be proactive and reactive.  

Raton had a water problem back in 2011 when the Track Fire directly impacted the city's water supply from Lake Maloya.  

"They talked about how they worked to make sure that ash and runoff didn't pollute their source of water and how they dealt with all the factions who were stakeholders' in that whole process."  

No matter what the emergency plan is, the Environment Department says it's important to get input from the people who are impacted.   

"The specific plans have to be community based," said Tongate.