WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., introduced a package of bills Wednesday including proposed authorization of the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System.
The package could be voted on as soon as Sunday.
The measure, also introduced Wednesday in the House of Representatives, authorizes the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to spend up to $327 million to assist the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority in construction of the pipeline.
The pipeline will deliver water from the Ute Reservoir, which was built on the Canadian River in 1959 as a sustainable water supply for eastern New Mexico, according to authority entities.
Under the legislation, the state and the authority would contribute a 25 percent of construction costs. The authority will be responsible for operating and maintaining the pipeline.
“We’ve studied this issue for years and now we are ready to proceed with the construction of a pipeline to serve eastern New Mexico communities,” Bingaman said. “This bill would provide long-term water security to generations of New Mexicans.”
“I am so pleased that after years of working on the critical Ute Pipeline legislation in the House and with Jeff Bingaman in the Senate, we are now closer to completing this project which has required the hard work of so many eastern New Mexico leaders,” said Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. “The need for this project is undeniable because it will ensure that our Eastern region can continue to prosper for years to come”
Authority members include Grady, Clovis, Melrose, Texico, Portales, Elida, and Roosevelt and Curry counties.