Camino Real Regional Utility Authority is asking people to limit all outdoor water use due to shortages. • Source New Mexico

The Camino Real Regional Utility Authority is urging the 19,000 residents in southern Doña Ana, Sunland Park and Santa Teresa province not to use water outside their homes, citing low water supplies in a public announcement late Thursday afternoon is sent.

The utility said they are experiencing “extremely low water levels” caused by a combination of high water use and two offline wells undergoing repairs and maintenance.

Camino Real is asking people to limit outdoor water use until Wednesday, May 8 due to public safety concerns.

“This is not an emergency declaration,” said the utility’s executive director, Juan Carlos Crosby.

“We must ensure that firefighters in the city of Sunland Park and Doña Ana County have the water reserves they need for firefighting.”

There will be no fines or citations because the measure is strictly voluntary, said Udell Vigil, a spokesman for the water company.

“We want customers to take the situation seriously, that’s the reason for the public attention,” Vigil said.

The area is in the middle of fire season. Wildfire conditions have already increased due to the ongoing drought. The lack of moisture will be accompanied by faster winds this weekend, said Connor Dennhardt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in El Paso.

“The combination of these two things will create critical to extreme fire danger for much of southwestern New Mexico on Sunday,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we issue red flag warnings on Sunday.”

Winds of between 40 and 30 kilometers per hour could be seen on Sunday, he said.

Sunland Park Fire Chief Danny Medrano could not be reached by phone for comment Tuesday.

The public notice prohibits the use of water for irrigation, car washing, patios, driveways, sidewalks and any commercial use of water hydrants in construction. The notice applies to public parks and school grounds.

This comes as the utility tries to address concerns about its operations and restore trust with customers after a series of water quality issues – including sending drinking water with “high levels of arsenic” to customers without informing the public last year to set.

The latest three tests from the New Mexico Environment Department show the utility is now in compliance, with arsenic levels in the utility’s water below the federal limit of 10 parts per billion.

Public notice of temporary interruption of the outdoor water service_Final