Ute project could start as early as 2011

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico

Construction on the Ute Water Project is projected to begin as early as next year with completion slated by 2019, according to the Eastern New Mexico Water Rural Authority.

During a presentation to the Curry County Commission, officials laid out a timeline for the Ute Water Project and set the price tag at $500 million.

Creating an entity comprised of the communities of Clovis, Grady, Elida, Melrose, Portales and Texico; and Curry and Roosevelt Counties, the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Act takes effect July 1.

Scott Verhines, Kevin Powers and Joe Thompson gave commissioners a breakdown of the board created by the act and how the project will be funded.

Under the financial plan presented by Powers, Portales would contribute $208,693 in 2011 with annual increases resulting in more than $3.3 million by 2028.

Roosevelt County does not have its own contribution, according to the documents presented Tuesday.

Curry County’s starting contribution will be $14,590 in 2011 and will grow to a contribution of $233,543 by 2028.

Similarly, the city of Clovis will contribute $747,243 in 2011 and $11.9 million in 2028.

The purpose of the act is to create a regional water system project consistent with state-wide water planning. It also outlines an organized structure and entity to work with local, state and federal agencies.

The board, a subdivision of the state, will adopt rules, policies and procedures ratify acquisitions of property, engage in legal action, establish fees, tolls, rates or charges and issue revenue bonds.

Verhines said information about the project is provided on a web site to help inform the public.

The municipalities represented on the board are partners in a cost sharing plan and are responsible for 10 percent of the costs of the project, while the state is responsible for 15 percent and the federal government 75 percent, Powers said.

On the web: www.enmrwa.com