Forget your water, we want your money
The town of Taos has agreed to pony up $57,600 to the El Prado Water and Sanitation District for help during a monthlong water crisis earlier this year. Town councilors voted to pay the El Prado water district during the Oct. 9 council meeting.
Taos’ water emergency began April 19. Aging pumps in two of the town’s three major municipal wells went down, and the town council quickly voted to declare a state of emergency. In order to keep the water lines pressurized — averting a full-blown water outage that could have crippled the town, businesses and residents — the El Prado district began sending water from their system into that of the town.
At the time of the emergency, El Prado operators estimated they sent roughly 400,000 gallons to the town each day. Months later, they estimated El Prado’s system sent the town 11.5 million gallons of water. In the months since the emergency, it was unclear if El Prado would accept water, rather than a monetary payment. Ultimately, they opted for the cash.
“The (El Prado) board felt that there were too many obstacles and subsequent problems in a water-for-water repayment,” read an Oct. 3 letter from the district to town manager Rick Bellis. “The board unanimously decided to decline the (suggested) MOU and request payment from the town.” The board gave the town until Nov. 3 to pay up, at which point “interest will be added to the invoice balance…as is our normal procedure.”