New water bottling plant in Los Lunas brings jobs, but also concerns

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LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – A water bottling company is now calling New Mexico home. It plans to ship out its first locally bottled water in February. This means new jobs for local residents, but some people are worried about the amount of water the company will use.

“This is exciting for the Village of Los Lunas,” said Ralph L. Mims, manager, Economic Development, Village of Los Lunas.

The company is leasing half of the largest vacant building in town.

“They are taking over 166,000 sq. ft. of the Merrilat building,” said Mims.

The village said this means new jobs for its residents; the company is looking to hire about 40 people.

“We are hiring for production roles,” said Derieth L. Sutton, director, Economic Development & Government Relations, Niagara Bottling.

“The pay rate starts at $23 an hour, which is excellent for New Mexico,” said Mims.

But some residents said they are concerned about how much water the company will be using.

According to the USGS, the average person uses about 90 gallons of water per day.

“Los Lunas has 16,000 people,” said Mims.

The residents of Los Lunas roughly use 1.4 million gallons a day.

The company gave KRQE News 13 a range of how much water its manufacturing plants use.

“I would say on average from 250,000-300,000 gallons of water per day,” said Sutton.

So in comparison that would be a fifth of Los Lunas’s daily water consumption.

“It’s city water,” said Mims.

According to Niagara, it has one of the most efficient technologies in the industry.

“On average, anywhere from 80 to 90 percent of what we draw goes into a bottle,” said Sutton.

It also said very little is wasted in its process.

“Everything about our product is 100 percent recyclable,” said Mims.

Both the village and Niagara said they hope this is the start of a successful partnership.

“Hopefully they will take over the full building and create more jobs,” said Mims.

Niagara bottling is a California-based company. It has 25 other manufacturing plants around the country.

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