Aztec restricts water use due to drought

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
A group fishes in the Animas River on Tuesday at Riverside Park in Aztec.

FARMINGTON —The city of Aztec enacted Stage 2 water restrictions on Monday that mean residents can only water landscaping twice a week.

Houses with odd-numbered addresses can water on Thursdays and Sundays and houses with even-numbered addresses can water landscaping on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Residents can only water landscaping between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m., or 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., on their allotted days.

Interim City Manager Steve Mueller said the dropping water levels in the Animas River prompted the city to restrict water use.

“We’re still in pretty good shape,” he said.

A sign provides the latest drought information Tuesday on a median strip along West Aztec Boulevard in Aztec.

The city has about 30 days of water storage in its reservoirs.

He said the restrictions are the city’s effort to be proactive.

The Animas River was flowing at 167 cubic feet per second at Cedar Hill Tuesday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It is flowing at 14 cubic feet per second below Aztec.

The city had drained and dredged one of its reservoirs and began refilling it on Thursday. Mueller said it is about a third of the way full, and Aztec is still able to pump water to continue filling it.

The city is also working to make sure the water line between Aztec and Bloomfield can be used if it needs to purchase water from Bloomfield.

The Animas River is seen on Tuesday at Riverside Park in Aztec.

City Commissioner Mark Lewis said the restrictions on landscape watering do not apply to people who use irrigation water from ditches to water their landscaping, however he anticipates the various ditch companies will soon restrict irrigation water use.

“The water levels in the river are very low,” Lewis said.

He said the restrictions are not draconian, however he anticipates some people may balk at the landscape watering restrictions.

While Aztec just implemented the Stage 2 restrictions this week, Farmington has been on Stage 2 restrictions for a couple of weeks.

Farmington’s restrictions allow for watering three days a week depending on address.

“We don’t have the storage capabilities that Farmington has,” Lewis said of Aztec’s stricter restrictions.

While the Stage 2 restrictions limit landscape watering to two days a week in Aztec, washing of concrete surfaces and vehicles will be allowed Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Full details about the Stage 2 restrictions can be found at

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at