Water company shopping for local sources

CNJ staff

A spokesman for New Mexico American Water — Clovis’ water supplier — said Tuesday the company is in the first stage of seeking local negotiations on water sales.

Under the authorization granted in Senate Bill 209, passed in the 2011 Legislature, July 1 is the first day NMAW can purchase water from private citizens for the purpose of municipal supply and seek cost recovery.

“Over the period between our existing wells declining and the Ute Pipeline coming in, we’re looking at this leasing program,” said Daniel Bailet, vice president and general manager of NMAW. “This is the start of a procurement process that will have a couple of different stages. This is the first step.”

He called the process one of many the company is undertaking, along with water conservation and well rehabilitation measures.

A pipeline project has been authorized to pump water from the Ute Reservoir in Quay County to Clovis and other communities, but the earliest delivery date has been set at 2019. In the meantime, Bailet said, the company wants to talk to farmers and other water rights owners to see if selling the water would be a wiser financial choice than its current purpose.

Bailet said the closer an applicant is to Clovis, the more attractive they will be. But the company could seek applicants from greater distances in the future, as infrastructure built for the pipeline project would be available before the project goes online.