Nightly News   |  June 20, 2013

Fighting for water in New Mexico

In Magdalena, N.M., the town’s well has run dry. Now they’re rationing water bottles, and using porta-potties while trying to conserve as much as possible. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reports.

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>>> back now and we turn to the west. firefighters battling dozens of wildfires, not being helped by severe and extreme drought conditions . very worst of it right now is in new mexico. fw gabe gutierrez went to one town where there is no water at all.

>> reporter: thousands of firefighters rushed to squelch fires in seven western states , no fire yet, put a state of emergency .

>> water is a precious commodity.

>> reporter: the town's well ran dry. mayor sandy julian fighting for water. some days the village has none, other times barely enough. trucked in tankers ration water bottles and trying to calm fears.

>> praying for rain.

>> reporter: the only laundromat for 60 miles.

>> the stretch itself is beyond anything i ever imagined or experienced in my life.

>> reporter: he wonders how to support his wife and 4-year-old daughter, and fears bankruptcy.

>> tomorrow, there may not be water in the well, no water pressure at all, no way to flush the toilets.

>> reporter: situation is dire enough, that city officials and some local businesses have rented port yrent ed port-a-potties throughout town to conserve water. since 2012 , notice how dark red areas shifted west.

>> this year's drought, focused over the southwest. last year's drought was in the north central plains to the midwest.

>> reporter: dry conditions are fueling what could be a record fire season. today in colorado, eight fires are stretching crews to the limiting as they battle a 7,000 acre blaze near prescott, arizona.

>> this stuff is prime to burn.

>> reporter: there is a desperate need for water. like this town.

>> this is the worst i've seen.

>> reporter: begging the state for help to fix its water. this water war has no end in sight. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, magdalena, new mexico.