Serving the High Plains

Authority talks new phase of water pipeline

The Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority is ready for a new focus – the 27.1-mile phase of the Ute water pipeline between the caprock and Grady.

Officials on Thursday discussed specifications, construction bid packages and plans to advertise requests for proposals for the pipeline construction.

“It’s the next phase of the project, and it’s an exciting one,” Clovis Mayor Mike Morris said.

The authority will begin looking for the most financially optimal construction company for the job.

“The water authority put this out and requested proposals from qualified contractors that can construct this 42-inch diameter, welded steel pipe. It will need to be installed into the ground in the Grady New Mexico area to caprock,” Morris said.

The authority also unanimously approved six easement agreements with New Mexico residents in continuing the construction process on private land.

The 130-mile pipeline would pump up to 16,415 acre-feet of water annually from Ute Lake near Logan to communities in Curry and Roosevelt counties that have experienced depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer.

The project’s cost has been estimated as much as $1 billion. The authority wants to finish the pipeline by 2029.

The pipeline has been a source of controversy by many Quay County residents for years.

Many Logan residents oppose it because they fear it would adversely affect Ute Lake.

Numerous rural residents whose land where the pipeline would traverse have objected to the process of the authority gaining easements and how their land might be restored after the pipeline is finished.