Water bill introduced

QCS STAFF

Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman are on the same page in wanting to address rural water problems. They recently introduced a bipartisan bill in the U.S. Senate that is designed to improve water service to rural communities, according to a joint press release.

The Reclamation Rural Water Supply Act of 2005 would authorize the U.S. Department of Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation to “establish a program to plan, design and construct rural water supply projects.”

Clovis Mayor David Lansford testified on behalf of the act before a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
“We are encouraged that this may include flexibility in assessing the non-federal costs, based on analysis of capabilty to pay, rather than application of a ‘blanket’ fixed federal cost share approach,” he said.

The bill would establish a federal loan guarantee program within the Bureau of Reclamation that would allow rural communities to obtain loans at interest rates far lower than loans not guaranteed by the federal government, according to the press release.

Senator Bingaman said 35 percent of New Mexicans live in rural communities.

“One of the most urgent issues they face is access to adequate water supplies for present and future needs,” he said. “Our legislation offers these communities a chance to plan and pay for their much-needed water projects.”