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Park Remains Open Despite Water System Shutdown

Chiricahua National Monument

National Park News

At noon on March 15th, visitors reported water pooling on Bonita Canyon Road near the park’s campground. Maintenance crews responded and found a substantial leak in the main park water line that was threatening to undermine the road. In order to preserve the roadbed but still provide minimal water to park residents and visitors, all water at the park was shut off, then intermittently cycled on and off until being entirely shut down at 8 p.m. Spring is the busiest time at Chiricahua – the campground is usually full all week and day use visitation is very high. Portable toilets were put in place that evening so that the campground would not need to be evacuated. On March 16th, the leak was traced to the underground shutoff valve to the campground and repairs were begun. Non-potable water was restored to all facilities by March 17th. Visitors and residents continued drinking potable water brought in by a private contractor. The campgrounds remained open and no visitors had to be turned away because of the water system shutdown. Potable drinking water from the park’s water system was restored on March 20th after water samples from the system returned as “safe to drink.”  The park managed the incident using ICS principles; Larry Ludwig was incident commander.


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