Quay County URWC members may push ahead with a new study of Ute Lake’s capacity despite rejection last week by the Ute Reservoir Water Commission, provided other funding can be found.
State Rep. Dennis Roch told Quay County Commissioners Nov. 12 that he will explore different sources of funding for such a study.
The most recent Ute Lake yield study’s results were reported in the Whipple Report, which was published in 1994. While all of the Curry and Roosevelt County members of the URWC voted against the new study on Nov. 7, Quay County members voted for a new study. Clovis Mayor David Lansford voted against a study, as instructed by Clovis’ City Commission, but has said he personally supports one.
The Quay delegation and Lansford argued that the current 12-year-old drought is likely to have affected the lake’s ability to yield 24,000 acre-feet a year to serve URWC member communities.
Curry and Roosevelt County members agree, however, they say the Whipple Report adequately covers contingencies like the drought. They are also members of the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority, which is building the $14-million intake structure on Ute lake’s south shore as a prelude to a $500-million pipeline to be constructed over the next 20 years.
Lansford based his support for a new study on doubts whether the pipeline would be feasible if lake capacity was diminished.
Quay County’s URWC delegation seeks to maintain enough water in Ute Lake to support boating and fishing on the lake, which have benefited Logan, Tucumcari and the county.