Las Cruces Utilities Notifies Customers of Leaks, Including City Manager


LAS CRUCES – Water leaks are not always obvious. When an unfortunate leak is underground or not in an obvious location, it is the water consumption that alerts Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) of a possible leak. LCU employees then contact customers – residential, commercial and industrial. One customer who was recently alerted was Ifo Pili, City Manager of Las Cruces.

For him, the leak was in his laundry room. The water went down the sewer without anyone noticing. At least, anyone at home. “It would never have created a puddle that we would have noticed,” Pili said. “I am grateful that the program worked as it should and that my family was alerted to the excessive water consumption.

“We have determined that the threshold for informing customers will be 5 gallons per hour,” said James Stafford, LCU management analyst. “This figure is based on the fact that at this rate, over a 30-day billing period, the customer’s consumption would exceed the 3,000 gallons included in their monthly access charge.”

The current leak notification process is that an LCU employee monitors the system on a daily basis using the data collection system and customer portal, the UtilityHawk Alert System. “Those accounts that have the most critical alerts are usually listed first,” Stafford said.

When an alert occurs for meters indicating a continuous water flow of five gallons per hour or more, an LCU staff member will open the account in the data collection system and verify the actual minimum hourly consumption. Depending on the severity, they will notify the client by phone, email, or even send a field team.

“The employee will then explain when the aquatic event started and go through a checklist of areas the guest can check during the physical inspection of their property,” said Stafford. “If the customer is unable to locate the problem, staff can also request an LCU field investigation to try to help locate the problem. If these attempts are unsuccessful and consumption persists, we recommend that the customer contact a licensed plumber for assistance in locating the leak.

From the start of monitoring from December 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021, LCU has notified 630 customers with high water consumption alerts – 493 residential accounts, 118 small commercials, 18 large commercials and one industrial account.

“Of the notified customers who repaired their water system and then contacted Customer Central, LCU provided $ 11,830.50 in account adjustments,” Stafford said.

For water leaks that residents may see on the street, LCU schedules repairs based on severity levels. Once LCU is alerted, either by the alert system or by a customer, a member of the service personnel goes to the site to access the leak. The four levels are:

  • Level 1 is an emergency event. It is the jet of water in the air, or flowing water obstructing circulation, or a loss of water or pressure in large sections of the city.
  • Level 2 is a serious event that immediately affects the area but does not pose an immediate security threat.
  • Level 3 is a leak that appears to require investigation for a source that is likely not a mainline for the city.
  • Level 4 is considered the most benign, such as a slow flow from a broken water meter. It receives attention in the order it is received after the leaks in the previous three levels have been resolved.

If you see a leak, call Utilities Emergency Dispatch, available 24 hours a day, at 575-526-0500.

LCU Customer Central can be reached at 575-541-2111 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday. LCU provides clean, safe and reliable services to residents and businesses of Las Cruces. Learn more about: For emergencies, call Dispatch at 575-526-0500.

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