Public projects approaching

An $850,000 water well project is one of the main projects approaching for the City of Portales in 2013.

The city will expand its water well field by seven wells in 2013 by rehabilitating seven of its long-dormant wells, which were previously used for waste water.

"It's very exciting," said public works director John DeSha of the project. "We're going to have more water available to us. We won't be able to go back to the good old days where everyone can water their yards as much as they want, but it will definitely take some of the pressure off the existing well field."

DeSha said Portales residents will still be asked to follow the watering schedule of alternating days, because although the additional wells will help provide more water, it will not give the city enough water to cover additional or long-term watering.

"We're doing this to try to keep that from happening again," DeSha said in reference to Portales suffering from a severe water shortage two years ago. "It's (the project) a way to offset problems like that."

DeSha said the project will begin in late January and should be completed by the end of spring. The project will entail cleaning up and updating the dormant wells, which are located in a separate water well field off N.M. 202.

The city's current well field is also located off N.M. 202 and will be connected to the seven new wells to produce more drinking water from the ground.

"We're worked really hard on the water problems and fortunately, we've had no problems with it this year and part of that is because people are following the restrictions," he said, adding that his department has been very appreciative residents' cooperation with the recommended restrictions.

City Manager Tom Howell said other city projects to be started or completed in 2013 are the beginning steps to working towards a new waste water plant and remodeling the Memorial Building.

"The design of the new waste water plant will be finished this year," Howell said. "The next step will be to determine what funding we will use for the facility and how much waste water rates will be affected."

Howell said actual construction of the new plant will probably not begin until the following year.

He said the Memorial Building project is a $60,000 project and is being paid for using funds which were being used to pay off an infrastructure bond that was used to double the size of the Portales library.

He said now that the bond is paid off, the annual sum used for it can now go towards other infrastructure projects.

"We are remodeling the meeting room at the Memorial Building," Howell said. "The intent is once we are up and running, to move the council meetings to the Memorial Building because there is more parking and it's more accessible."

He said smaller projects in 2013 include new heating and air conditioning for the municipal court building and the recreation center and beginning the planning process for expanding the city's cemetery.

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