Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R-NM) today welcomed passage of H.R. 5710, the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System Authorization Act that will establish the Ute water pipeline. This bill authorizes construction of a pipeline from the Ute Reservoir that will carry water to several communities in Curry and Roosevelt counties.
Under the proposed bill, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is authorized to spend up to $327 million to assist the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority (ENMRWA) in the construction of the pipeline. The state of New Mexico and the ENMRWA, which represents communities in eastern New Mexico that will benefit from the pipeline, will contribute 25 percent of the cost of construction. ENMRWA will operate and maintain the pipeline.
“Construction of this pipeline is essential as communities in eastern New Mexico try to meet future demand for water,” Wilson said. “It will provide a critical supply of water to growing communities and create certainty in these communities that safe, clean water will continue to be available long into the future.”
The Ute Reservoir was built on the Canadian River in 1959 as a sustainable water supply for eastern New Mexico. It has been nearly 40 years since Congress authorized the study of a pipeline to transfer water to communities in eastern New Mexico, but only in the past few years have the affected New Mexico communities began planning for the pipeline.
Communities that will be served by the Ute pipeline include Grady, Clovis, Melrose, Texico, Portales and Elida, as well as Cannon Air Force Base.