In Truth or Consequences, N.M., leaking pipes cause millions of gallons of water to go down the drain amid drought

Deon J. Hampton, NBC News on March 12, 2023

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. — For centuries, Native American tribal leaders and others have trekked to this oasis to unwind and relax in the abundant hot springs that course underground, bubbling up through the crusty desert floor.

But amid a worsening regional drought, the town with the curious name is losing 200 million gallons of potable water a year because of antiquated underground pipes that leak, spit and sometimes gush 30 feet into the air, putting not only its nearly 6,000 residents at risk of having their water shut off but also threatening operations at the city's five public schools and its only hospital and nursing home.

Schools have already been forced to close without warning several times over the last year as water is shut off while repairs are made, city officials said.

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