Groundbreaking marks next phase of Eastern New Mexico water project

Groundbreaking on next phase of Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Project.
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August 25, 2023 — On Tuesday, the Bureau of Reclamation, in collaboration with the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority and the state of New Mexico, initiated its next phaseOpens in a new tab. of the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System project. The project’s aim is to ensure a dependable and safe water supply to the eastern region of New Mexico.  When completed, the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System will channel water from the Ute Reservoir to serve nearly 70,000 residents. The beneficiaries will include residents of municipalities such as Clovis, Elida, Portales, Texico, Roosevelt County, and the Cannon Air Force Base.

Funding Boost from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

With the broader objective of promoting drought resilience and widening access to clean water, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, backed by President Biden, earmarks a $8.3 billion over five years for Reclamation water infrastructure initiatives. Of this allocation, the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System has already been granted over $222 million. This funding injection is intended to accelerate the ongoing work.

Deputy Commissioner Grayford PayneOpens in a new tab. stressed the urgency of the situation, stating, “As drought intensifies in the West, we must act quickly to ensure these communities have a stable water supply to continue to thrive.”

Albuquerque Area Manager Jennifer Faler commented on the significance of partnerships in this project and highlighted the overarching goal, “We value the partnership with these communities and New Mexico with a common goal of supplementing the groundwater supply of the area as the Ogallala Aquifer continues to decline.”

Project Specifics.

The current segment of the project under construction, termed as ‘Finished Water One’, encompasses a 15-mile pipeline. This will facilitate water transfer from the upcoming water treatment plant to other completed pipelines, catering to the member communities.

When completed, the systemOpens in a new tab. is expected to boast around 120 miles of pipelines, two raw water pump stations, a water intake facility, a finished water booster pump station of a smaller scale, storage tanks, and a water treatment plant.  To date, the intake structure is complete, along with nine miles of the Finished Water Two and Canon Lateral, and 13 miles of the Finished Water 3A pipeline.

Image:  Deputy Commissioner Payne, Senators Heinrich and Lujan, along with the Eastern New Mexico Utility Authority breaking ground on the next phase of the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System. Source:  BLM press releaseOpens in a new tab..


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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