Curry commissioners OK Ute study funding

By Kevin Baird

CNJ staff writer

Curry County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved spending $480 to help fund a new study on the Ute Reservoir’s firm yield, or the amount of water that can be taken from the reservoir annually while maintaining a sustainable water source.

The vote was 4-0; Commissioner Tim Ashley was not present.

At a Ute Water Commission meeting last week, Chairman David Lansford raised concerns over a lack of firm yield data since a study was completed in 1993. Lansford asked member communities to contribute funds to complete a new survey of the Ute Reservoir. Lansford says he isn’t sure the lake can satisfy the need for water in Clovis and the other communities across eastern New Mexico that have bought into the Ute pipeline project.

Commissioner Wendell Bostwick said it would cost the county $480 since the Ute Water Commission is asking member municipalities to contribute $2 for every acre-foot of water reserved at the reservoir. Curry County has reserved 240 acre-feet.

Bostwick said the county probably spent more on having an attorney at the commission meeting than it would spend on this study.

“I can remember my dad drawing plans for it on napkins back in 1967,” Bostwick said about the Ute Pipeline Project. “I don’t want to slow down progress.”