Water authority meeting focused on funding

Freedom New Mexico

The Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority meets from 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Clovis-Carver Public Library Ingram Room.

This is the first meeting for the authority since the Ute Water Project was authorized and funded by Congress.

The authority will oversee the construction and maintenance of a pipeline to deliver water from the Ute Reservoir to the authority’s eight entities.

Agenda items include:

• Discussions over steps to take on the appropriation process. Project Manager Scott Verhines said a trip to Washington, D.C., is planned April 27-29, with many details still in the works.

• A discussion of the possibility of funds through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to fund the intake structure at the reservoir, allowing members to draw reserved water quickly.

Verhines said the Bureau of Reclamation sent him a letter last week detailing the possibility of funding eligibility, and requested information was sent to the bureau Friday.

Verhines said the intake structure will cost about $24 million, but, “We don’t have any idea how much (money) Reclamation has, or how much they’d spread over (how many) projects.”

• Avenues for Grady and Melrose to release some of their reserved water. Verhines said the communities don’t need all of the water they have reserved at the reservoir, and there will be a discussion over the possibility of other cities entities taking the water and the legal steps needed.