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Governor signs emergency declaration for Socorro County

Declaration provides funding and other resources to support recovery from the county’s second monsoon event in July of 2021

Santa Fe, NM – On Tuesday, Governor Lujan Grisham signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Socorro County. This order follows a coordinated effort between state and county officials to fully assess the damage from the July 23rd monsoon event, and it aims to provide local governments with the tools and funding they need to repair damaged roadways, water systems, and other critical infrastructure. Notably, this was the second monsoon-related emergency that Socorro County experienced in July of 2021, with Governor Lujan Grisham signing an executive order to address the first event on November 30th.

This order provides up to $250,000 for the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) to support public recovery efforts organized by city and county officials. In this instance, the state constitution does not allow state emergency funds to be used for direct financial assistance to private individuals.

Additionally, this declaration means that affected localities within the county could also be eligible for state assistance. State emergency declarations also authorize the Adjutant General to activate the New Mexico National Guard for necessary support, and they direct all cabinet departments to assist with a statewide response.

“The La Joya Acequia was impacted in back-to-back severe storms in July 2021,” said Socorro County Emergency Manager Gail Rogers. “The July 23rd series of storms impacted nine locations along the Acequia from Highway 60 South to the Village of La Joya compounding damages that had already occurred at the beginning of July. This July 23rd storm event essentially shut down the La Joya Acequia for the rest of the summer and the early fall. This severely impacted the local farming community in this small area of Socorro County. The Governor’s Executive Order will allow the La Joya Acequia to have the repairs implemented and completed by the Spring so that water can once again flow in the Acequia. “

“This monsoon season had a dramatic impact on communities across our state,” said DHSEM Secretary Bianca Ortiz-Wertheim. “With this executive order, local leaders in Socorro County will have access to the funds they need to repair vital infrastructure like the La Joya Acequia. Our Recovery Team has been in close contact with local leaders since this disaster began, and moving forward, we will continue working with our local, state, and federal partners to support Socorro County’s recovery.”

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DHSEM works to protect the people of New Mexico and the nation through a comprehensive and coordinated program of mitigating hazards, preparing for emergencies, preventing attacks, and recovering from disasters. The New Mexico State Fire Marshal’s Office is part of DHSEM beginning on July 1, 2021.