The federal disaster declaration requested by Gov. Susana Martinez from President Obama will clear the way for 75 percent of the costs to recover water-control infrastructure and other publicly owned structures needing repairs or rebuilding.
“The presidential disaster declaration will mean a lot more resources to communities already stretched thin by ongoing disaster conditions,” Martinez announced. The Little Bear Fire, the most destructive in state history, burned approximately 44,300 acres and destroyed more than 250 structures.
Several Lincoln County watersheds were negatively impacted, including Bonito Lake, which will remain out of service for several years due to heavy silt and debris flow during seasonal rains. Bonito Lake supplies approximately 20-30 percent of Alamogordo’s and Holloman Air Force Base water supply. Alto Reservoir, a major water supply source for the Village of Ruidoso has been unable to accept surface water due to a diversionary system constructed to prevent contaminated water and debris from entering the water supply. The village has also stopped taking water from Grindstone Reservoir, another major source of water prompting village officials to draw water for Ruidoso residents entirely from subsurface supplies using wells.
“New Mexico’s communities and citizens are resilient and we will rebuild and recover,” Martinez said.