The Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority met Thursday morning at Clovis City Hall.
During the meeting:
• Members approved a trio of resolutions, the first two to approve grant/loan agreements with the state water trust board for the 2010 and 2011 funding cycles, and the third to make a request for the 2012 funding cycle.
The grant/loan for the 2010 agreement was $2.9 million, and the 2011 agreement was for $4.37 million. Both are presented as 90 percent grant and 10 percent loan. Both loans carry no interest, but include a .25 percent administrative fee. They are payable over 20 years, but can be prepaid at any time.
The biggest difference between these agreements and similar ones with the water trust board is that the authority has the sole responsibility for repayment. Clovis bore responsibility for repayment when the authority was operating as a joint powers agreement prior to 2010.
• Authority officials discussed the ramifications of losing John D’Antonio, who is leaving the state engineer’s office within four weeks to take a position with the Army Corps of Engineers.
“The state engineer has been, without a doubt, our biggest supporter in the state,” said Joe Thompson, who handles state affairs for the authority. “We’re going to miss him, but I doubt that we’ve seen the last of him in regards to this project.”
• Mark Murphy of the Interstate Stream Commission said the commission was on the verge of starting a process to create a drought management plan.
The commission has a year to approve a plan dealing with the Ute Reservoir, which will supply water for the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System, also known as the Ute Water Project.
“We look forward to a not-long, but carefully thought-through process to develop this plan,” Murphy said.
The plan is key, Clovis Mayor and Authority Chair Gayla Brumfield said, to establish priorities to make sure the water rights of authority members, and interests of residents who live near the reservoir, are protected.
“This is key to people at the lake, people in Logan and people in this entity here,” Brumfield said. “This is going to drive levels of the lake. We want to get to a solution as quickly as we can, but we don’t want to do it hurriedly.”
• Kent Terry, manager of the damn at the reservoir, advised members that the water has been dropping heavily over the year due to drought conditions.
“We still need rain,” Terry said, “and we still need quite a lot of it.”
As of Wednesday, the reservoir was at 3,778.21 feet and contained 157,399 acre feet of water. Those same numbers on Jan. 1 were 3,782.4 feet and 183,257 acre feet.
The authority, upon completion of the pipeline project, would be allowed to pump up to 16,450 acre feet annually — an amount less than the reservoir’s average recharge amount from precipitation.
• The authority met in executive session to discuss acquisition of property, but took no action.
• The next authority meeting is 10 a.m. Nov. 17 in Portales.
— Compiled by CNj staff writer Kevin Wilson