· Ute Reservoir, on the Canadian River near Logan, New Mexico, provides the answer to the future municipal and industrial water supply needs in Curry, Roosevelt and Quay counties.
· The concept of an eastern NM rural water system (ENMRWS) is not new. The water supply project, as currently proposed, represents an updated approach to development of a project that builds on almost 40 years of research and planning.
· Regional water planning in eastern New Mexico is an active and obviously involved program and the proposed ENMRWS serves as the cornerstone of the planning efforts.
· Decline in water availability to the region will constitute a major economic impact. Local officials have consistently ranked water as the most serious long-term development issue facing the area. Inaction with respect to implementation of the ENMRWS project will result in lost opportunity for economic development and may result in losses to the existing economic base.
· There is a history of federal support for regional rural water development in the mid-west and western United States.
History and Setting
· Groundwater reserves in the east-central New Mexico region represent a limited resource that is both declining in quantity and deteriorating in quality. Two groundwater basins generally serve the region, the Entrada Aquifer to the north and the Southern High Plains (Ogallala) Aquifer to the south. The western edge of the Ogallala formation extends from Texas into eastern New Mexico with relatively shallow saturated thickness. The formation was discovered in 1912.
· Water levels in the vicinity of Clovis have declined in excess of 100 feet in the ensuing period with estimated recharge on the order of only ½ inch per year. Even though voluntary conservation efforts and continued improvements in agricultural water use efficiency can extend the available supply of groundwater, the depletion problem in most of the area makes sustainability over the next 25-40 years a virtual impossibility.
· The New Mexico Legislature and Interstate Stream Commission recognized the water supply problems in eastern New Mexico when it passed an Act authorizing the State Engineer to construct a dam on the Canadian River in 1959. At the time, it was recognized that existing groundwater supply sources were declining and demand from Texas for more water was coming from both the Canadian and Pecos River basins.
· A water supply project to utilize the surface water storage in Ute Reservoir was first conceived in 1963, and the Eastern NM Inter-Community Water Supply Association was formed with 17 members.
· In 1964, a major feasibility study was completed by a NM consulting engineering firm to furnish water from the newly constructed Ute Reservoir to communities in eastern New Mexico as a supplemental source of water.
· From 1965 to 1998, a series of studies were conducted by the US Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), Interstate Stream Commission (ISC), and Eastern Plains Council of Government (EPCOG) on water supply feasibility, conceptual design of infrastructure components, environmental impact, wind resources, and watershed yield.
· In 1975, 1978 and 1981, the New Mexico Legislature authorized and funded improvements to the spillway to increase the storage capacity at Ute Reservoir.
· The Ute Water Commission (UWC) was first organized in 1987, by Joint Powers Agreement, for the purpose of contracting with the ISC for purchase, acquisition and distribution of water from Ute Reservoir.
· A 1994 study by the Interstate Stream Commission estimated the firm annual yield to be 24,000 acre-feet per year in all but extreme drought years.
· March 1997—the Interstate Stream Commission and the Ute Water Commission entered into an agreement for sale and purchase of 24,000 ac-ft annually for beneficial consumptive uses. The agreement, effective Mar.1, 1997 to Jan. 1, 2046, is extendable through 2086.
· In 1999, EPCOG, on behalf of the UWC members, entered into an Engineering Services Agreement with Smith Engineering Company, to develop the project to the next level.
· In 2001, the NM Legislature put in place the Water Trust Fund and Water Project Fund in direct response to the ENMRWS initiative, other similar project initiatives, and the successful experience of other rural states, to leverage New Mexico dollars with local and federal funding.
· The Eastern NM Rural Water Authority (ENMRWA) was formed in November 2001, of UWC members in Curry and Roosevelt Counties, for the purposes of planning, financing, Ute water acquisition and operation of the ENMRWS. The JPA forming the ENMRWA was amended in May 2003 to add the UWC members in Quay County.
Project Need and Benefits
· The purpose of this project is to address an established critical need. The ENMRWS will, when implemented, provide the members of the Eastern NM Rural Water Authority (ENMRWA) with a sustainable source of water for municipal and industrial use over the long term. The project concept is not new and the need for the water has not diminished. On the contrary, the need for potable water grows annually as existing supplies are depleted.
· The need for the project stems from both a declining and deteriorating water supply and the rural environment of eastern New Mexico. Population density associated with the area represented by the ENMRWA ranges from 0.5 to 30 persons per square mile and averages less than 4.5 persons per sq. mi. The current population within the service area of the project (2000 census) is 73,000 and is approximately 32% Hispanic and 68% non-Hispanic.
· The project offers significant potential for long-term economic development and growth for the region.
· The construction and operation of a water supply system in eastern NM will have positive impacts on economic activities in the region and will generate regional income and employment. Preliminary estimates by the USBR indicate over $100 million in regional economic output, $25 million in employee compensation, and 1500 jobs will be generated by the project. Potential revenues of up to $8.5 million will accrue from gross receipts taxes on construction, and up to $450,000 annually from operation and maintenance. Income tax payments are estimated to increase by up to $360,000 initially and $53,000 annually.
Key Project Assumptions
· Water delivery to ENMRWA members is based on satisfying peak-day demand, and 24,000 ac-ft annual delivery.
· Water is centrally-treated and potable water is delivered to the members.
· Water will be delivered in bulk (wholesale) to members.
· County reservations will be available for future wholesale delivery to currently unincorporated areas—for fire protection, livestock taps and for redistribution as domestic water supply.
· The infrastructure has been sized, and associated costs developed, assuming that each participating member uses or pays for their reserved allocation of Ute water annually (“take or pay”).
· Pipeline easements will be donated. Single payment damages could be reimbursed where warranted.
· The expanding development of wind energy resources in the region is potentially key to maintaining affordable operation and maintenance project costs. New Mexico’s renewable energy wind resources rank 12th among the 50 states in value.
Key Project Features
· A lakeside intake structure and raw water pump station.
· 1.7 Mgal raw water storage (equalization) tanks.
· 39 mgd central water treatment, administration and maintenance facility.
· Treated water pump station.
· Treated water elevated storage—Quay Co. pressure control.
· Approximately 87.5 miles of main transmission pipeline ranging in size from 30” dia. to 54” dia.
· A booster pump station at the base of the Caprock.
· 2.4 Mgal. ground storage at the top of the Caprock.
· Gravity flow from the top of the Caprock to all downstream members in Curry and Roosevelt Counties.
· Approximately 94.8 miles of lateral pipelines to serve individual communities and county demand, ranging in size from 8” dia. to 36” dia.
· Telemetry and control systems.
· Infrastructure security enhancements.