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Conservation Plea

Kirk Thompson
1268 Los Griegos Road
Jemez Springs, NM 87025

March 19, 2006

Greetings Association Members.

As you are probably aware, Governor Richardson has officially declared that a state of drought
exists (like we needed an official declaration!) in New Mexico:
( We
anticipate that if the membership uses water as it has historically done in the Spring and Summer
months, then there will be water outages due to the demand outstripping our systems’ ability to
supply water at the rate demanded. Since there has been very little precipitation in the last 6
months, we anticipate that the membership’s demand on well water to keep their non-native
plants and gardens alive will increase dramatically. In honor of the Drought Condition declared
by the Governor, we request that you severally limit your use of outdoor water activities this year
and refrain from establishing gardens, washing cars or buildings, etc. Prioritize what you want to
supplement with well water, and then expend the conservational effort of collecting your
shower/washing water and transporting either the old fashioned way, with buckets, to those
plants you wish to supplement or design and implement a gray water recycling system. You may
also wish to consider installing cisterns and collecting water from you roof structures. Collecting
water from your roof could also help your property, by having water available for use during a
wildfire scenario.

There is no real incentive to conserve water here other than people having common sense and a
"conservation attitude". We all have a flat rate (yearly dues which a portion goes to provide
water service) and no metering of individual usage. Most water utilities implement a progressive
rate structure that penalizes consumers for excessive water usage. This provides an incentive to
conserve water. SLPPOA has no such “negative stimulus” and as such, continue to use water as
if it were an infinite resource.

Simply put, SLPPOA’s water system does not have the capacity to provide water for
continuous outdoor watering activities and other non-essential water use activity such as:

• Car washing
• Maintaining a lawn or other ornamental plant life
• Pressure Washing of decks and houses, etc.
• Recreational water devices (Slip and Slide, water balloons, spray cannons, etc.)
• Swimming pools
• And of course just non-conservation of our water resources.

The SLPPOA board has had discussions on the formation of a Mutual Domestic Water
Cooperative (MDWC) for the past few years and last year we had put out a request for special
assessment which didn’t even get the required voting quorum. The general apathy of the
association membership continues to be a problem. Without planning ahead and continuing
status quo, we are putting ourselves in a precarious position. It is easy to sit back when things are
going smoothly, but when things start to go bad (by then it is too late), it becomes harder to deal
with the problem. This is the "reactive maintenance" stance which I have tried to stay away from
in my administration of our water systems for the past 5 years.
Here are some general facts on water usage:
• A sprinkler head uses 7-12 gallons per minute. Watering your lawn with one sprinkler for
1 hour could use up to 720 gallons of water.
• On average, 50-70% of household water is used outdoors.
• Showers use 5-9 gallons of water per minute. A 15 minute shower can use up to 135
gallons whereas a bath requires 30-50 gallons.
• A hot water faucet that leaks 60 drops per minute can waste 192 gallons of water and 48
kilowatt hours of electricity per month.
• Running the tap waiting for water to get hot or cold can waste up to 5 gallons per minute.

SLPPOA has two water systems. Units 1, 2, 3 and 10 are on System 1 which is comprised of two
wells, 400' (Aspen) and 215' (Hovenweep) and 30,000 gallons of water storage with a total
effective flowrate of 35 GPM. The failed Hovenweep pump has been replaced last fall. Units 4
through 8 are on System 2 which is comprised of two wells, 350' (New) and 248' (Old), of which
(Old) is dry. The (New) has been upgraded with a 5 HP pump and now supplies water at 25
GPM to the booster station. This station then pumps water to 22,000 gallons of water storage.
There is an emergency connection between the two systems that can be used to transfer water
from one system to the other but historically it has been used primarily to supply water from
System 1 to System 2 since System 2 has [historically] had more problems. Many of these
problems have been abated by equipment upgrades through the past 5 years. This was where a
major portion of your membership fees went for those years.

Here is an example of the limited capacity of our systems. If only three people water their lawns
(using the smallest capacity sprinkler at 7 GPM) from System 2 water, with the pump running [at
capacity], we are operating at only 4 GPM for the period of time those sprinklers are operating.
If high capacity sprinklers are used, that puts the numbers at a net loss of 11 GPM. We simply
cannot keep up with that kind of demand.
Once the tanks are emptied, the entire system is
normally turned off (isolated) so the tanks may be refilled. Water to the membership is not re-
established until convenient to either Don or I. Perhaps you are unaware that it takes a water
operator at least 45 minutes to ‘turn on’ the water system as one can not just quickly open the
isolation valves without destroying large sections of pipe due to water hammer. Then we will all
be out of water for weeks if not months as we isolate sections of pipe looking for broken
sections. Don or I must be up at 5:00 AM (without our own shower) in order for you to have
water by 6:00 AM. And just think, with a little error like that, we could be replacing a majority
of the system and asking you for a Special Assessment on the order of $20,000 per lot., if you
want water.

It is still Don Bednar’s and mine opinion that we as a community should seriously investigate
forming a MDWC. This will open up doors to Federal and State funding sources by way of
grants and low interest, long term loans that are not available to us now. Our systems are
approaching 30 years of age and are not getting any better just sitting there.

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to inspect and tour our water distribution
facilities, please contact me at


Kirk Thompson
SLPPOA Water Chairman