Former mayor testifying at Senate hearing

Former Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield will testify today in the nation's capital at a Senate hearing for a bill that could provide the 75 percent of the money needed for the Ute water project.

According to a news release from Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing for the Rural Water Bill. Bingaman is a co-sponsor of the bill.

Brumfield, who is the chairwoman of the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority, said Senate Bill 3385 will provide money for water projects that have been authorized.

The $500 million Ute water project involves building a pipeline to pump water from the Ute Lake Reservoir in Quay County to Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority members in Curry and Roosevelt counties. It was authorized in 2009 as part of a public lands omnibus bill.

Funding for the project has been divided among local (10 percent), state (15 percent) and federal (75 percent) sources. Brumfield said the bill would fulfill the federal portion of the funding scheme.

Brumfield said her testimony will include the necessity of the water project to sustain the communities in eastern New Mexico.

She said the bill has a broad base of support in the Senate as the bill would fund water projects in six states.

"I'm excited to do it and feel good about it," she said.

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