AZTEC — The city of Aztec received an annual report about the Aztec Water Utility operations and fiscal health from the Southwest Water Consultants, Inc.

V. Phillip Soice, a civil engineer for the last 15 years for the Santa Fe-based consultant firm, wrote the civil engineering report and presented it to commissioners last week.

The 11-page report focused on the city's water rights, sales and treatment for calendar year 2013 and financial health over water sales during fiscal year July 2012 through June 2013.

"Overall, the city's doing well," Soice said by phone from his office in Santa Fe on Monday. "Aztec has adequate water rights and adequate revenue to cover its capital projects and expenditures. Aztec is better off than most utilities in New Mexico. They're in good standing."

City Manager Joshua Ray considers the city's water management to be in good health.

"I am very pleased with out water management last year," Ray said in a text message Monday. "I give a lot of credit to Andrew Galloway (chief operator at the city's water-treatment plant off Navajo Dam Road) in producing a high quality product and to (Finance Director) Kathy Lamb for managing the business side of the utility."

According to the report, Aztec diverted 1,684 acre feet of water from the Animas River in 2013 from three different stations — the Animas River Pump Station, Aztec Ditch and Lower Animas Ditch pump station.

"For a city of that size that has to divert and treat surface water, that's about right, the 1,684 acre feet," Soice said. "This year the gauge in Durango on the Animas River is running 94 percent of average. There's close to average levels." According to the report, average demand for treated water last year was approximately 1 million gallons per day. Average peak day demand for water was as much as 2.2 million gallons per day. Peak months were June and July.

The city sold nearly 352 million gallons of water in one year, between July 2012 and June 2013, that generated gross revenues of nearly $2 million.

At the end of last year, the city "owned or had the right to divert about 5,200 acre feet per annum of water from the Animas River," the report states.

Last year the city planned, designed or constructed about $1.2 million of water projects has helped the city ensure strong footing with water storage. Among them was a new water tank at the Aztec Municipal Airport, which doubled its storage capacity to two million gallons of water. The city currently is operating with a 28-day supply of water, Soice's report said.

Residential customers pay $17.20 per month for a base charge for water service, the report added.

"For a small utility that has to treat surface water (from its primary source, the Animas River), those rates are reasonable," Soice said.

To manage the city's water effectively and provide services for its residents and businesses, continual improvements will be necessary, Ray said.

"We have a plan for infrastructure water improvements over the next three years that we will continue addressing," Ray said. "We are confident with our water rights at this time but the Commission will consider additional purchases as they are presented."



James Fenton covers Aztec and Bloomfield for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4631 and jfenton@daily-times.com. Follow him @fentondt on Twitter.