In a 2008 town hall, residents were asked what made Carrizozo unique. Their answers included, the friendliness of the people, the fact that it is a small, quiet town, its historic buildings and the climate.

It is not without common rural, small-town woes. Quiet can mean isolation, many of the historic buildings are falling into disrepair and, with few businesses, there are few job opportunities. On the other hand, the town is affordable and without restrictive zoning, has an ample supply of water, is actively working on its infrastructure and is welcoming to new-comers and new businesses. Best of all are the 360 degree views and climate.

In a 2008 Town Comprehensive Plan by Architectural Research Consultants, Inc., 68% of the population was satisfied with the services received by town employees. Those surveyed indicated that they were satisfied with fire protection, access to health care, conditions of town parks and solid waste services.

Land Use
Carrizozo has a mix of residential, commercial and civic buildings with most commercial buildings located on Central and 12th Street. Zoning is mainly C-1: Neighborhood Commercial and Services, C-2 Tourist-Oriented and Community Commercial and R-2: Apartment and Single Family Residential.

Property Value
In 2018, the median property value in Carrizozo grew to to $84,800 from the previous year’s value of $83,600.

Data from the Census Bureau ACS 5-year Estimate.

Property Taxes
In Carrizozo in 2018, the largest share of households pay taxes in the < $800 range.

Data from the Census Bureau ACS 5-year Estimate.

According to the 2015 Carrizozo Metropolitan Redevelopment Area Designation Report, Carrizozo owns 834 acre-feet of water rights, mostly from wells. Three wells are capable of storing 1,250,000 gallons of water. Water does not require any disinfection at this time.

Mayor’s 2021 report:

Town of Carrizozo – Water                                                                                 6-1-2021

Local government has many roles, but none more important than the proactive preservation of water.

Currently two wells, East & West, supply our municipal drinking water.  McBride well is the third large capacity well.  The McBride well is not connected to the town distribution system and has not been used since 1991. At that time, it was taken off line as a precaution, because its proximity to the Cimarron Mining, Superfund Site.   


The Superfund location was taken off the National Priority list in 2001. The NMED (New Mexico Environment Department) is currently monitoring the site, and there are no State or Federal restrictions on using the McBride well. Given the wells location within the high production zone and its proximity to the distribution system, the McBride well should also be prioritized for improvement. 

Town of Carrizozo Wellhead Equipment Improvements Plan, March 22, 2021

Table 3: Summary of Engineer’s Opinion of Probable Cost

Item #4 – McBride Well Improvement Costs: $327,000*

*Note – This would include a new well house.  

A number of steps need to take place before the town commits to fund the process to bring the McBride well back on line as a part of the municipal potable water system.   

One of the first steps is to actually pump and log the well.  Several determinations need to be made, such as static level(s), drawdown, recovery rate and water quality. 

Since the McBride well is currently not connected to the town water distribution system we were fortunate to find a commercial account to purchase all the water needed for testing and not have to pump it out on the ground. 

Commercial water sales are an important factor in protecting the town’s water rights.  Remember, “use them or lose them” is always an important consideration.

As recently as 2017 unaccounted water was 44 to 50% of production.  Since then, the Town has implemented a number of measures to minimize these losses.  At present unaccounted water is averaging more than 1 million gallons per month; we’re not finished yet.

The age and condition of the Carrizozo Water Distribution network, has been and continues to be a big part of the unaccounted water problem.  Locating and fixing leaks in the network are now a high priority of the Public Works Department.  

Old water meters are a big part of the unaccounted water number.  As meters age they report less and less water flow.  The town has recently received a grant to replace all meters with new, radio read meters. 

Listed below are recent and/or ongoing projects/programs to update and increase the efficiency of the Carrizozo Water Production & Distribution System: 

  • 2021 Town of Carrizozo Water Development Plan – Aegean Consulting 
  • 2021 Town of Carrizozo Wellhead Equipment Improvement Plan – Bohannan Huston
  • 2017 Preliminary Engineering Report – Carrizozo Water System Improvements – SMA
  • CDBG and Colonias Infrastructure Projects
  • Well and Wellhead Protection Grant $600,000
  • Water System Improvement Grant $500,000
  • Water Meter Replacement Grant $250,000
  • 2021 Town of Carrizozo Comprehensive Plan
  • 2021-22 DOT HWY 54 – Central Ave. Project
  • 2022 Bonito Lake Water Availability

The sewage treatment plane was upgraded in 2007. Currently, the system is able to serve up to 20,000 people. Lines are made from clay tile and are in good condition.

Crime Rate
According to the crime index, the crime rate in Carrizozo in 2019 was 2.5 times lower than the U.S. average. The 2019 Carrizozo crime rate rose by 29% compared to 2017. In the last 5 years Carrizozo has seen rise of violent crime and decreasing property crime. According to FBI statistics released in September 2020, Carrizozo is safer than 43% of the cities in the United States.

Read more:,

Health Care
The family practice clinic in Carrizozo is part of the Presbyterian Medical Group (PMG) and offers comprehensive health care for individuals and families. Financial assistance and a sliding scale based on family size and income are available.
Dental services are also available at the clinic and include exams, x-rays, cleaning, fillings, root canals, extractions, crowns, bridges, full and partial dentures. and other dental procedures. 
80.5% of the population of Carrizozo has health coverage, with 23.8% on employee plans, 19.5% on Medicaid, 24.6% on Medicare, 8.35% on non-group plans, and 4.24% on military or VA plans.

Data from the Census Bureau ACS 5-year Estimate.

Mild, dry and windy best describes the climate here. Carrizozo receives approximately 13 inches of rain and 8.8 inches of snow a year. Snow melts quickly with an average monthly snow depth of 0.