'All's Well' With Wonder Valley Wells

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Faced with a well that Wonder Valley Land Owners Association president Jimmy James called "critically low," that community's residents have been requested to curtail all outside water use.

At a meeting Monday evening, the 14 land owners who share the single community well also decided to apply for the necessary permits to drill a new well. That process is expected to take several weeks, James said.

The crisis began Friday, when the small community of about 48 people east of Mesa del Caballo on Houston Mesa Road, ran out of water.

"It's probably a matter of perception as to whether the well went dry," James said. "Was it completely dry? No. It's just that we were using it faster than it was recharging."

James said the main water line was shut down for a period of time to see if the well would recharge.

With some Wonder Valley residents upset that the water situation could affect property values, James emphasized that the community's two storage tanks are now full.

"The tanks have refilled and we had a follow up meeting and asked people to keep their water usage at an absolute bare minimum," James said. "If we have to let our trees die, the trees die. That's better than people."

Due to bacteria growth when the water was shut off, it must now be tested to make sure it's potable.

"It's my understanding that bacterial growth is less in a full line than it is in a dry line," James said. "I've also been told bacteria grows anywhere you don't treat the water."

One home in Wonder Valley uses a private well which is producing as normal, James said.

"Of course they don't have 14 (homes) drawing off it," he said.

The Mesa del Caballo Fire Department, which services Wonder Valley, has agreed to provide water for livestock, and the county has provided a tanker of sterile water for drinking.

"The well is a little murky, which probably indicates we've taken it way down," James said. "Now that we've let it rest, it's building back up and the sediment is settling out, but we do need to get some testing done. Many people are leery about drinking it right now and that's why we have this safe water (provided by the county) in here."

James believes the situation is currently stable, and he emphasized that he doesn't want Wonder Valley perceived as a community with a water problem.

"All's well in Wonder Valley," he said. "We just don't shower as much as everybody else."

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