Meetings watch: ENMRWA

Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority

The Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority met Wednesday at Melrose City Hall.

• Project Manager Scott Verhines said he was happy the authority was included as part of the joint land use study being undertaken by Cannon Air Force Base and neighboring municipalities.

He said the Ute Water pipeline project, as proposed, has three miles of pipeline adjacent to the western and southern borders of the base.

• John Ryan, giving a federal update, said the search for appropriations for the $500 million pipeline project authorized by Congress last year has some delays due to what he called election-year politics.

An appropriations bill from the House is up in the air because of campaign noise against earmarks, he said.

He said the authority is applying for stimulus funding to aid in the construction of an intake structure, a combination of pipelines and a pumping station.

• The authority tabled a request to add Mark Murphy, previously of the Interstate Streams Commission, as an advisor to help steer the group through the project’s environmental assessment.

Vice Chairman Sharon King said she would like to see a scope of work, and Curry County representative Caleb Chandler wanted to see how the $9,000 request would breakdown by an hourly wage.

• The authority expects to receive proposals for a final design May 28, with those proposals available for the June meeting.

• Verhines said the process is ongoing to look for a small hydroelectric turbine to place in the pipeline to help defray some of the power costs associated with eventual operation and maintenance.

Engineer Greg Gates of CH2MHill said when completed, operation and management costs are roughly $9 million annually — $2.8 million of the costs are from power requirements.

Verhines said a turbine wouldn’t provide all of those power needs, but an independent study said it would provide significant savings.

• The next meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. May 19 in Portales.