Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority seeks more federal aid

Thomas Garcia

QCS Senior Writer

The first phase of the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority’s $550 million Ute Pipeline Project is on track to be completed in September while construction on the second phase, is projected to begin in the next 18 months, according to Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority officials.

Members of the authority were updated on the progress the Ute Pipeline Project during Thursday’s monthly meeting in Grady. Once completed in about 20 years, the project is expected to pump water from the Ute Reservoir near Logan to Clovis, Portales, Elida, Texico, Grady, Melrose, and other areas of Curry and Roosevelt counties.

The first phase, a 51-foot by 93-foot main shaft that will house pumping equipment at Ute Lake near Logan, will be completed in September, according to Barbara Crockett, community liaison for CH2M Hill, the engineering firm that performed the construction.

The crews are currently working on the bench about 50 feet below the lake’s current surface level, about 3,729 feet. The bench will support the intake screen that will filter out debris from water flowing from the lake through a horizontal pipe leading to the main intake shaft.

Crockett said on that on April 14 crews used radio- controlled drilling units to dig a 233 foot long, 60-inch diameter tunnel that will house the horizontal pipe. She said a bulkhead was installed on the lake side of the tunnel and drilling units stopped at the bulkhead, signaled by color-coding.

“We continue to move forward with this vital project and construction is right on schedule,” said Gayla Brumfield, authority chair.

Brumfield said CH2M Hill has completed the scope and design of the second phase, a groundwater pipeline in northern Curry County, and expects construction to begin in 18 months.

Brumfield said that in February the authority received $100,000 in capital outlay money allocated by the New Mexico State Legislature toward the construction of the interim pipeline. She said Chair Sharon King, herself, and other authority members recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak with the New Mexico congressional delegation, as well as officials from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the federal Office of Management and Budget regarding federal funding.

“We are seeking any type of end-of-the-year funding, budgetary appropriations and federal support for this project,” Brumfield said.

The Authority approved a resolution 2014-09 making 2013 cycle funds available from the Water Trust Board to help fund the interim pipeline project.

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