Quay County has officially withdrawn its commitment to the Ute Lake pipeline project. Quay County Manager Terry Turner told county commissioners at a recent meeting that the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority has been notified of the county’s departure from the project.
Earlier this month Turner said that because the county decided to lease 750-acre feet of water per year to the Ute Lake Ranch development, it was not in the county’s best interests to remain committed to the pipeline with only 250-acre feet of water left in its allotment.
San Jon and Logan have also opted out of the pipeline project and the City of Tucumcari has requested a reduction in its purchase of water to 2,000-acre feet per year, down from 6,000-acre feet per year.
Clovis Mayor David Lansford said decreasing participation in the project does not mean the project is in jeopardy.
“The pipeline must happen for my community (Clovis),” Lansford said. “I am optimistic. It all hinges on federal funding. When we can show the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S Senate and the U.S. Congress that our project is needed and it’s the best alternative, then we will probably receive authorization and funding.”
Lansford said he hopes the project will receive federal authorization sometime this fall. He said there is no animosity between existing members of the project and those members who have opted out of the project.
“Now is the time for area government entities to let it be known what their commitment is,” he said.
The project, estimated to cost more than $300 million, would pipe water from Ute Lake to public entities as far south as Portales.