“Without water nothing happens: no toilets, no drinking water, no water to assist with the drilling process, nothing … not even water for people at the visitors center,” Rosacker said, describing the situation at the project since the end of September.
On Sept. 27 the Cochiti Project’s pump for its water well went out. During the process to replace the 20 horsepower pump, the original well, drilled in 1964, collapsed. A whole new well had to be drilled to restore the water supply, said Cochiti Lake Project Manager Mark Rosacker. If everything goes according to plan, the new well is expected to be online shortly after Thanksgiving.
Despite the lack of water, the Cochiti campground is not closed.
“We have been allowing people to camp with the understanding that we are currently replacing our only water well on this side of the lake. There have been no major problems with regards to campers,” Rosacker said.
To keep the administration complex open, Cochiti staff arranged for water to be hauled in while the new well is being replaced, anticipated to take approximately eight to 10 weeks.
“It’s not inexpensive, but absolutely necessary,” Rosacker said.
Fortunately, from a budget standpoint, the well went out before the end of the 2012 fiscal year. This allowed the use of some fiscal year 2012 funds to help replace it.
“I do not know what we would have done under such circumstances if we had not already had an amendable contract in place for replacement of the pump,” he said. “Kudos to Stephanie Parra for making that successful.”
The new well, designated the Cochiti II well, is located in the service yard just outside the maintenance building at the project. Rosacker said this was the best place to put it in order to use existing plumbing from the old well.
Water use at the project is seasonal: it increases in the summer, the height of camping season, and decreases in winter when there are fewer campers. The water tank has a 30,000 gallon capacity and uses gravity to feed water to the entire Cochiti side of the project. The new pump, like the old one, is 20 horsepower. The pump works to fill the tank then shuts off. It comes on as needed to refill the tank at periodic intervals as water is being used.