A project that will deliver a regular and clean supply of water to major portions of eastern New Mexico is receiving more than $4.3 million in federal funding for fiscal year 2019.
That funding is coming through the federal Bureau of Reclamation.
The Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Supply Project is designed to deliver potable water to a wide number of locations on the east side of the state including the counties of Curry and Roosevelt, as well as the cities of Clovis, Elida, Grady Melrose, Portales and Texico.
Perhaps most crucially, the system will supply water for big Cannon Air Force Base, seven miles to the west of Clovis, which is currently home to more than 4,400 active duty service members and nearly 6,000 family members.
Last month, New Mexico Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall pushed for expanded funding for the project above the $99 million that had previously been secured in discretionary funds.
Altogether, the big water project has now received more than $20 million in support from Washington.
In a statement, Heinrich said, “Access to adequate, clean, and affordable water means that cities in eastern New Mexico can bustle with activity, our farmers and ranchers can grow local food, and Cannon Air Force Base can continue to play a vital role in protecting our national security.”
The new funding will specifically target the building of the projects Finished Water Two and Finished Water Three.
That work comprises the initial Interim Ground Water Project, which is needed because it will provide pipeline water while work on the larger Ute Water Project continues. That project is expected to one day contain up to 16,450-acre feet of renewable surface water on an annual basis.
The overall Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System Project includes 150 miles of conveyance pipelines, an intake structure designed to handle 25,000 acre feet, a 1 million gallon storage tank, and water booster stations in the towns of Grady, Elida, and Melrose.
Preliminary work on the massive project began more than a decade ago, with actual construction on phase 1 of the Ute Reservoir Intake Facility launching in the winter of 2013.
By Garry Boulard
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