Water Outages in Jal

By Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

JAL, NEW MEXICO - You go to the faucet for some water, and nothing comes out.

You never know if water will come out of the tap in Jal, New Mexico.

City leaders say the problem is bad installation and while they've fixed the leaks, more water problems could be on the way.

"Here we go again," Jal neighbor, Dennis Allen, said. "It's been a common thing here for the last two months. Nobody likes it, but it's part of life."

During those two months, Jal neighbors have been without water about eight times.

"People are concerned," Jal Mayor Alton Dunn, said. "They have children in the home and they've worked all day and they want to take a shower."

City leaders brought the damaged pipes and valves to the public works meeting Monday morning so neighbors can understand exactly what the problems are.

"We did receive some phone calls from citizens and we purchased water at the grocery store and took it to their residences for drinking water," Michael Duplechain, Director of Jal Public Works, said.

The water was off all day Wednesday. A four foot crack in the main pipeline and improper installation in some of the main valves forced the Public Works Director to drain the entire city.

"The pressure wasn't regulated right," Duplechain said. "The line was over-pressured. and there could have been some damage when the line was replaced back in '04."

It took crews twelve hours to restore water to the city on Wednesday.

"I would like to thank all the citizens for being patient and bearing with us with these water outages, because we are going to get them corrected," Duplechain said.

"We're doing the best we can do," Mayor Dunn, said. "Our people are working hard to keep water going, and I commend them for that."

And even after fixing this break, public works says, it could happen again.

"Unfortunately, the valve situation, we're still trying to find all the valves to be able to isolate the areas to shut sections of the town down at a time, so you know, we're still working toward that," Duplechain said.