By Jack King
City residents appear to be listening.
Following a request by city officials to conserve, water use in Clovis dropped significantly between Thursday and Saturday morning, said New Mexico-American Water Co. operations manager Jim Bonner.
“If it keeps up at this rate, we’ll have our tanks filled in four or five days,” Bonner said.
Water use dropped 1.5 million gallons between Thursday morning and Friday morning and then a modest 200,000 between Friday and Saturday morning, he said.
The city’s water supplier said usage is up because of an unusually long dry spell last month and an increased customer base.
Bonner said Wednesday that since July 9 the company had been distributing between 11 million and 12 million gallons of water a day, and the company’s wells can’t keep up with the demand. As a result, New Mexico-American’s storage tanks were low, he said.
At a press conference Thursday, city officials warned that if residents didn’t conserve the city could face serious water problems in a week.
People around town had varying reactions to the request to conserve, which city officials said was purely voluntary.
The Gattis Junior High School drill team held a car wash in a parking lot Saturday on 21st Street.
Sponsor Leslie Garcia said she hadn’t heard about the water storage problem and drill team captain Roberta Chavez said the group did “a lot” of business.
Out watering his lawn Saturday afternoon on Wallace Street, John Swain, said he had mixed feelings about the request.
“I used to water my lawn in the morning to get it through the hot part of the day, but I’ve switched to watering in the evening. I think that’s fine, but I don’t know how bad the water shortage is and I don’t know how far the restrictions will go. I used to live in California and went through some water shortages there. They had us watering on even and odd days. If that was necessary, I’d do it, but I wouldn’t care to.”
At Washpointe Auto Wash and the Express Lube car wash, employees said their businesses recycle their water and, therefore, don’t contribute to the reported drain on New Mexico-American’s water storage tanks. The car wash did a brisk business Saturday.
Express Lube employee T.J. Decker said one man told her he was getting his car washed because there is a water shortage and he doesn’t expect to wash his car again for a long time.
On East 21st Street, Patty Saylor said she and her husband weren’t going to water their lawn Saturday or Sunday, although they might put a little water around their trees. She added that they plan eventually to xeriscape their front yard.
“Any place where you have to water so often, you probably ought to have low water use plants anyway,” she said.
Duckworth Street resident Kathy Candelaria said she’s been impressed that the drought is serious and water storage a problem.
“I’m from Hawaii and when we came to the park and saw how the ground was cracked, it was just awful. We need to conserve and we need to pray for rain,” she said.