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No one knows the ultimate outcome of a decision to put test well drilling in White Rock on hold indefinitely, but the hiatus has given some concerned residents a reason to hope.
“I am certainly glad that the council seems to be open-minded and trying to reach what I consider to be a more satisfactory closure than what we had,” said Milt Gillespie, whose home is within the radius that will be affected by the drilling. “I look forward to whatever discussions go forward and I certainly expect to let my opinions be made known.”
Los Alamos County Council Chair Geoff Rodgers and Utilities Board Vice Chair Tim Neal jointly announced the decision last Friday. A statement issued by the county reads:
“This hiatus will allow councilors time to better understand issues surrounding the San Juan/Chama water rights, determine appropriate policy steps, and provide direction to the Board of Public Utilities.”
Drilling at least one test well is the first step in a project to utilize the county’s 1,200 acre-feet San Juan-Chama water allotment and secure the county’s water rights. An independent legal review several years ago recommended that the county take steps to secure the water rights in order to avoid possibly losing them in the future.