The village of Tijeras held a special meeting May 6, voting to start work on a third well, with drilling expected to start May 18.

The well will replace Well 1, which Mayor Jake Bruton described as “non-viable,” adding that the state requires public water supplies to have two sources.

Well 2 produces 20 to 25 gallons per minute, Bruton said. “This new well is critical to our community and will benefit everybody across the board.”

The village has secured legislative grants of $350,000 and $650,000 and a federal grant of $750,000, said Casey Cook, an engineer with Molzen Corben.

That $1.8 million is enough to finish the well, Bruton said. The village has been working on pulling the funding together since 2014.

The village looked at two sites, landing on one it owned over a second site at a private residence, Bruton said. He said the location is ideal to “hook right into the system,” and said there is power at the site.

Bruton said the village owns 49 acre-feet of water rights, but averages about 35 acre-feet a year.

Cook said the State Engineer had “done a lot of homework,” examining geology, visiting the well site and nearby neighbors.

A report from the State Engineer’s office calculated the effect on existing wells and concluded there would be no effect, in part because nearby wells are older, and a well is considered to have an average lifespan of about 40 years, according to hydrogeologist Erwin Melis.

Bruton said he wants to take measurements of wells in the village, starting with those nearest to the new well, to provide a baseline of data and measure potential impacts on wells in the village.

Councilor Felix Garcia said constituents want to know how the village well might impact theirs.

“I’m really happy we’re being proactive and getting this well set up,” said Councilor Maxine Wilson, adding that fires are a concern.

“I’m happy to hear Mayor Bruton say we’ll be checking wells to see if they’re impacted by Well 3,” said Councilor Don Johnson.

Bruton said the intention is to provide “real data versus just guesses.”

“Good idea,” Johnson replied. “So we can make better decisions in the future.”

Work on the well will begin May 18, when the village is holding a groundbreaking ceremony.

Drilling will be 24 hours, and after the “first few feet” will be about as loud as an idling truck, Bruton said.

There will be lights on the site, which the mayor said the village has instructed the well driller to make sure they are shining directly on the site and not toward nearby homes.

Drilling is expected to be complete in about two months, after which the pumphouse and infrastructure will be designed over the summer, Cook said.

Pending approvals, that design would go out to bid some time this fall. “I expect early the following summer or late that spring we’ll have it up and running,” Cook said.

Leota Harriman
Leota Harriman

Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at news.ind.editor@gmail.com.