A more than decade-old plan to pump 54,000 acre-feet of water from beneath the Plains of Augustin in southwestern New Mexico will be subject to hearings and review throughout 2018.
The New Mexico company Augustin Plains Ranch LLC has proposed pumping what would be roughly 17 billion gallons a year from the Plains of Augustin aquifer to be sold to municipal and commercial customers primarily in Albuquerque.
The project, which could cost $600 million to build, would see the construction of a 140-mile long pipeline traveling along the I-25 corridor to the west side of Albuquerque.
The aquifer to be tapped is several hundred feet deep and could also supply the needs of customers in Belen, Los Lunas, and Rio Rancho, among other places.
So far, New Mexico’s Office of the State Engineer, which administers the state’s water resources, has rejected the Augustin Plans Ranch proposal. The project has also aroused the opposition of residents and activists near the Plans of Augustin aquifer, some 150 miles southwest of Albuquerque.
Continued review of the project is scheduled with the State Engineer’s office for all of next year, with perhaps a ruling being made by 2019.
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