CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) – Water in New Mexico is sparse, especially in Clovis.
“Today, if you have a well that’s producing 200 gallons-per-minute you have a good well,” said Clovis Mayor David Landsford.
Just a decade ago, a good well in the area produced about 1,200 gallons of water-per-minute. Officials say years of drought and extensive irrigation has nearly depleted the Ogallala Aquifer which is the city’s only source for drinking water.
“It’s a concern and if we don’t conserve the ground water supply that we have today then we are going to be regretting that decision in the near future,” said Landsford.
That’s why the city is hoping to start a new conservation program that would change the way area farmers use their water supply.
“We would have to change from irrigation to dry land farming,” said Farmer Frank Blackburn.
The city plans to pay farmers with federal grant money to stop watering their crops.
Farmers would be paid about $400 an acre to make the switch.
The change would mean farmers would have to rely on rain to water their land and some may have to change their crops to those that require less water.
“It will lower your production and it will require more acres to make a living off of a farm,” said Blackburn.
Blackburn, who has more than 60 years of farming experience, says the transition will be difficult for many area farmers, but says the community needs to act fast or else.
“We will be out of water or I guess have less water,” he said.
The City of Clovis has applied for the grant to pay dry land farmers. They’re waiting to find out if they qualify.