The city of Las Vegas, New Mexico is set to run out of drinking water in September, thanks to pollution and debris from the largest wildfire in ...The city of Las Vegas, New Mexico is set to run out of drinking water in September, thanks to pollution and debris from the largest wildfire in state history.
Some residents at the fringes of Las Vegas, a city some 65 miles (105 kilometers) to the west of Santa Fe, were forced to evacuate in May as the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak fire raged close by. The city gets its water primarily from a reservoir that feeds off the nearby Gallinas River. The river has now been contaminated by runoff from flooding on the burn scar of the fire, after intense rains in late July fell on the same region burned by the fire just a few months before.
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The town’s backup sources for water are two reservoirs in the area, one of which, the Peterson Reservoir, has also been contaminated by runoff from the fire. That leaves the Bradner Reservoir, which has a limited amount of water available for this city of 13,000 people and has already dropped 13 feet (4 meters) due to increased consumption, officials said.