Village Mayor Ray Alborn announced he met with Mescalero President Chino in an effort to secure permission to locate two large water centrifuges on Mescalero soil. Village Project Manager Justin King explains: “If we were to send water through our purification system as it comes off the mountain, our system would break down because of the large amount of silt, sediment and ash. Centrifuges spin the water and separate the contaminants out, allowing the water to run through our purification system without as much risk of incident.”
The village continues to take measures to catch sediment to not contaminate water sources, according to King. With a total of four large centrifuges available, the village is committed to keeping citizen’s water safe and ample. Each centrifuge can cost up to $6500 a day to function optimally, according to Mayor Alborn. “We need to look at our finances and stick within our budget,” stated King.
Mayor Alborn reported President Chino agreed to share land with the village and directed the tribal attorney to draw up formal papers authorizing permission.
“Water (availability and safety) is now our primary focus,” stated King, who informed the council the utilities department has gone back to the drawing board in the wake of the Little Bear fire, and are in the process of reassessing their budgetary priorities to ensure the citizens of Ruidoso safe and available water.
Emergency watershed protection
Three men from NRCS presented an option to the village to sponsor their efforts in assisting the village with flooding issues. Natural Resources Conservation Service representative Cliff Sanchez offered their supportive services in projects relating to the aftermath of the Little Bear Fire. “If the village sponsors NRCS, they can help with the Alto Dam Reservoir,” stated Justin King who stated sponsorship includes the village’s responsibility of 25 percent of the project total.
NRCS sponsors have the option of trading in in-kind donations. With the use of village machinery and labor, most of the cost will be traded, according to Debi Lee, village manager. “We can take it from our Capital Project funding for now,” stated Lee, who continued by saying the village is in the process of reprioritizing projects since the fire.
NRCS may assist in the hardening around the diversion to the west of Alto Dam. With the marshland being removed to provide retention for water-borne silt and sludge, the diversion needs to be hardened to support earthen Alto Dam, according to King.