Governor signs emergency declaration for Rio Arriba County due to water system leak in Village of Chama
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Rio Arriba County due to a major leak in the Village of Chama’s water system, making additional funding and state resources available for the affected community.
The state has been aiding the Village of Chama since June 10, 2022, when the state was first made aware of the need for drinking water due to an unaddressed leak in the Village’s drinking water distribution system. The declaration of a state of emergency comes after the state asked the Village to formally request an emergency declaration from the Rio Arriba County government in order to enable the state to provide additional resources per the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Disaster Assistance Program – Rio Arriba County approved a resolution declaring a state of emergency for the Village of Chama earlier on Thursday.
The executive order provides $450,000 for the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) to assist the county with emergency measures, help prevent additional damages, repair public infrastructure, and lessen the overall recovery time.
DHSEM has been coordinating the delivery of water to the Village of Chama since June 10, 2022, including both potable water for the public and water to be deposited into the water system. The Department coordinated the delivery of a water buffalo from the New Mexico Rural Water Association, as well as the delivery of pallets of bottled water, in addition to delivering hundreds of thousands of gallons of water that has been supporting the water system infrastructure. The New Mexico Environment Department also immediately offered technical assistance to the Village and has worked to connect the Chama water utility with contractors qualified to assist with identifying and addressing the leaking distribution system – that work is now underway.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law $800,000 in capital outlay funds in 2021 for the Village of Chama designated specifically for water system improvements and repairs which would have addressed these needs. The state will continue to work with the Village of Chama to apply both the available capital outlay funds and the funds provided by the emergency declaration to swiftly remedy the situation and return normal water service to the community.