Meetings watch: Water authority expects $2 million in federal funds

The Eastern New Mexico Utility Water Authority met Thursday morning at the north annex of the Clovis-Carver Public Library.

• Federal consultant John Ryan said a trip in July to Washington, D.C., with Ute Water Project Manager Scott Verhines, Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield and Portales Mayor Sharon King was a success.

King, who made her first trip as a member of the authority, said she was impressed with how hard the Office of Management and Budget was to learn about the project, which would pump water from the Ute Reservoir to authority entities.

Ryan said there should be at least $2 million put up for the project by the OMB.

• Ute Lake Dam Manager Kent Terry said recent rains put the reservoir at its highest point of the year. As of Thursday, the reservoir’s elevation of water was 3,783.22 feet. That’s only 3.6 inches deeper than Jan. 1, but that number also means about 2,000 more acre feet — about 645 million gallons of water.

• Members opted to press ahead with planned intake structure construction as opposed to a method that could potentially save as much as $3 million.

Engineers with CH2MHill of Albuquerque, which has a 50 percent design done on the intake structure (pumping station), said it would probably take a few months to redesign construction plans based on changing water delivery systems (the current design uses a tunnel, and other methods could save construction money).

However, members weren’t sure it would be worth the extra months’ wait. A state budget crunch has what state consultant Joe Thompson said was “the opposition” that, for whatever reason, wants to rescind capital outlay for projects that don’t have construction projects going.

“The idea that we’re hoarding money,” Verhines said, “is unfounded.”

• The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 16 in Melrose.