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An important water update from the Farmington City Manager

I would like to use this venue to answer five questions that I have been asked personally, or we continue
to hear from a variety of sources. I will use a Q&A format for succinct readability.
1. Is Farmington city water safe to drink?
Yes! All of our intake pumps from the Animas River were turned off and locked out long before
the pollution arrived from the Gold King Mine spill near Silverton, CO.
2. How much water do we have in reserve?
Lake Farmington holds in excess of a 3 month supply of water at the highest peak demand.
This means over 100 days at our very highest single day water usage in the history of the city if
they all came in a row. At the non-peak usage level we see today, extrapolated out to usage on
a historical curve for the next 5 months, we actually have 170 days, or over 5 months, of
water in reserve. And this takes into consideration meeting our current contractual obligations
to the Navajo Nation (NTUA), Lower Valley, Upper La Plata, and Flora Vista, as well as adequate
supply for Morningstar Water, if so requested.
3. Why hasnt Farmington issued any mandatory water restrictions?
Mandatory water restrictions are always a possibility, however in my judgment this measure
for Farmington would be premature and ill-advised at this time for the following reasons:
Due to proactive planning and investment by our citizens in the past, the City of
Farmington is fortunate to have significant water reserves as outlined above.
Creating financial penalty assessments on our citizens for water usage is difficult
to enforceso in reality still heavily reliant on the voluntary good faith and
common sense of responsible citizens to be effective.
The last time the City of Farmington implemented mandatory water restrictions
in 2003, water consumption ironically actually went up immediately by 30%.
Human nature I guess, people seem to respond better to requests than
demands and threats, and perhaps panic may have caused people to hoard. Im
told this is not an uncommon phenomenon in other localities.
We are closely monitoring this matter and are re-evaluating it on a weekly
4. So what about voluntary conservation then?
Absolutely! The fact is our message is always that we should not waste this valuable resource.
Additionally, we are promoting through public information messages and requests for our
citizens to voluntarily be respectful of this river crisis and to use their own common sense and
best judgment to conserve water where they can. This message has been well received, in fact,
unlike 2003 when usage went up 30% under restrictionsthrough a little luck from the rain and
our citizens exercising their own voluntary common sense, we have seen nearly a 30% reduction
in system-wide water consumption just since the spill event last Thursday.
5. What actions has the City itself done to set the conservation example?
City departments are exercising the same balanced and reasonable response we are asking of
citizens by evaluating measures to conserve water. However, at this time we are not cutting
back on services to the community (like swimming pools) or jeopardizing valuable infrastructure
such as medians, parks, and ball fields by eliminating irrigation and maintenance. Actions we

have taken are reducing our city watering and irrigation by 20% and we have suspended street
sweeping operations.
Thank you for taking time to read this important update. Please help us spread accurate information and
maintain a calm balanced and prudent response to the facts as they develop. As powerful as social
media is to spread correct information, it is just as powerful a tool to spread misinformation and foster
fear. Sometimes those who purvey misinformation do so through innocent ignorance and sometimes it
is done willfully and with unconstructive purpose.
We will remain vigilant at every step to continue to manage this crisis and maintain constant
communication with the public. However, Farmington remains safe and open for business for our
citizens and visitors to work, play, shop, enjoy, and stay.
Rob Mayes, City Manager