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Aguilar sin agua

Town is placed under severe water restrictions

by Cindy Gulley

AGUILAR — On April 26, Aguilar Utility Supervisor Virgil Birkenfeld posted notices in town prohibiting all outdoor water usage. This includes the watering of trees, bushes, flowers and gardens. Residents are not permitted to wash vehicles or the exterior of their homes. Water will no longer be available for water haulers either.

The Town of Aguilar is no stranger to water woes. Broken water mains, aging water storage tanks, a well suffering casing collapse, or others with low production have plagued the town. But restrictions imposed on Monday have nothing to do with water availability or deteriorating infrastructure.

This restriction came in the form of a letter from the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water Resources addressed to Mayor Marc Piano. The letter, signed by Division Engineer Steve Witte, ordered the restriction. It sited a failure by the town to meet a benchmark mandated by Water Court Decree 05CW103. These benchmarks ensure the Town of Aguilar moves forward with their water augmentation project in a manner deemed timely by the court.

The letter said, in part, “In the event that Aguilar fails to meet a benchmark by the deadline set forth above or fails to comply with any of the requirements set forth in this Paragraph 15, [referring to Water Court Decree 05CW103] then Aguilar shall immediately curtail all outdoor water use until such time as the benchmark has been met by Aguilar.”

The letter also stated inspections would be conducted by the Division Engineer and the District Water Commissioner to ensure there are no violations. Failure to comply could result in penalties up to $500.00 per day for each day the violation continues. At this time, it is unclear as to when the restriction will be lifted. Everything possible is being done to get back into compliance with the water decree.

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