Group seeks to amend Ute Lake policies

Members of a newly formed Tucumcari Quay County Regional Water Authority say they plan to attend a meeting of the Ute Reservoir Water Commission Thursday in Tucumcari.

"The authority is a joint powers agreement with Tucumcari, San Jon, Logan, and Quay County," said Robert Lumpkin, Tucumcari city commissioner.

Lumpkin said the Joint Powers Authority would serve to protect the interests of those entities when dealing with water issues at Ute Lake Reservoir.

"We want people to know we are doing all we can to be involved with the projects concerning Ute Lake," Lumpkin said.

Lumpkin spoke Dec. 29 to his fellow commissioners, who agreed to join and name the authority during their regular meeting.

"Forming this JPA before…(the) meeting was important," Lumpkin said.

One of the main topics of discussion at the Ute Reservoir Water Commission's meeting will be their "Ute Reservoir Drought management plan."

Mark Murphy, member of the Ute Lake Reservoir Advisory Group, said the meeting has been set for 10 a.m., at the Tucumcari Convention Center.

"We want to discuss their plan and introduce some additions," Lumpkin said.

Lumpkin said the authority would like to discuss the addition language in the plan for pumping policies and procedures during a time of drought and a minimum pool elevation.

"We want to state our merits for additional policy and procedures and the right to establish a minimum pool level," Lumpkin said.

Lumpkin said during a time of drought the authority would like to see a reduction in the percentage of water pumped out of the Ute Lake Reservoir.

"We are not asking for a complete halt to their pumping," Lumpkin said. "We are asking that during a time of drought the pumping be reduced to 10 percent."

Lumpkin said a minimum pool elevation is not a new topic, though it is an important one the authority would like to see established.

"A minimum pool elevation not only ensures a continued wildlife habitat," Lumpkin said. "It ensures that water will be available for all the entities future use."

Lumpkin said another topic of discussion for the meeting will be the two proposed intake structures at the Ute Lake Reservoir.

In August 2011, the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority broke ground on the first phase of their Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System, commonly known as the Ute Water Project.

Lumpkin said that intake structure will interfere or could possibly prevent the construction of a intake structure approved earlier by the Interstate Stream Commission at 12 Shores on Ute Lake.

"There are many concerns from the surrounding entities in regards to the intake structures," Lumpkin said.

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