Hydrologist discusses Magdalena's water supply

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Magdalena's village government is determined to avoid a repeat of the water shortage last year, and to that end invited Stacey Timmons from the New Mexico Bureau of Geology to the Board of Trustees meeting Monday night.

Timmons currently heads up the Aquifer Mapping Program at the Bureau and has been mapping the water tables in and around Magdalena for the past year, as well as researching historical data.

Timmons told the board Magdalena's hydrogeology is complicated, "which has, in past years, made finding a good location to drill a well difficult."

She pointed out that local groundwater generally flows from the mountains down to the east and gets deeper east of the La Jencia Fault on the flats, and that the water table is constantly in flux.

"In the Magdalena area there are both fractured bedrock aquifers where water moves quickly, and alluvial aquifers where water moves slowly and provides more groundwater storage," Timmons said.

As part of her research, she looked at drillers' 1975 notes on the Trujillo well — which stopped producing in June of last year – and found that even at that time, the well repeatedly collapsed. Since that time the water level had slowly been decreasing, due in part to additional collapsing, which eventually caused the well's failure.

The presentation also included comparisons between current and past drought, rainfall and watershed assessments. Her conclusions were caustiously optimistic.

"Over the last 40 years there has been declining water levels and pumping is dimished," Timmons said. "On the other hand, a small village like Magdalena can make big changes. Most importantly, keep conserving water. Rotate pumping wells to help relieve pressure on any single well."

Finally, she said, "pray for rain. Rain helps."

The complete results of her studies can be found on the Bureau of Gelogy's website at http://geoinfo.nmt.edu/resources/water/amp/projects/Magdalena.html

Formal water restrictions have not yet been discussed seriously by the Village Board, but residents were encouraged to continue water conservation habits they adopted last summer.

• The board approved a new contract with King Industries to perform any needed maintenance on the three village wells. "This will be for going into the next year, through 2015," Clerk Jeanie Johnston said.

• The board scheduled its Budget Workshop for Friday, May 2 at 9 a.m. in Village Hall. Johnston told the trustees next year's budget must be submitted to the state Department of Finance and Administration by June 1. The budget meeting is open to the public.