WASHINGTON (Feb. 11, 2021) – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) are announcing $14.8 million in federal funding for the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Supply Project.
The funding for the project, headed by the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority (ENMWUA), will be used to continue the construction of a water pipeline from Cannon Air Force Base to Portales. After working closely with Senators Heinrich and Luján, ENMWUA has seen the yearly funding level for this project triple since Fiscal Year 2019.
“I am pleased with the continued commitment to this project. Tripling the historic federal investment in the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System is a major victory,” said Heinrich. “I have worked for more than a decade to increase federal funding for the Ute Pipeline Project to provide cities in eastern New Mexico and Cannon Air Force Base with affordable, clean water. We have known for a long time that pumping unlimited groundwater from the Ogallala Aquifer is unsustainable. That’s why we must ensure that critical investments in this project remain funded so that ENMWUA can continue to provide eastern New Mexico a dependable, reliable water supply for generations to come.”
“Eastern New Mexico faces a groundwater shortage that threatens the economic and public health future of rural communities in the region. I’m proud to have fought for this continued investment to relieve the stress on the Ogallala Aquifer in favor of a renewable source, which will provide water for these communities for years to come,” said Luján. “I’ll continue working alongside the New Mexico delegation to bring much-needed resources and infrastructure investments to our state.”
The Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System is a regional rural water supply project that was federally authorized in 2009, to provide potable water to four member communities and Cannon Air Force Base for municipal, commercial, and industrial use from a renewable surface water supply at Ute Reservoir. The member communities include the City of Clovis, the Town of Elida, the City of Portales, and the City of Texico. The project will replace current groundwater supplies from the Ogallala Aquifer with renewable sources from Ute Reservoir. The Fourth National Climate Assessment warns that producers are extracting water faster than it can be replenished and the aquifer should be considered non-renewable.
“It is exciting to know that we now have the funding to construct the pipeline to Portales. This funding will connect another member community to the Finished Water portion of the pipeline, an important part of the overall Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System. The ENMWUA is committed to its member communities in developing this important infrastructure for the people of this region,” said David Lansford, ENMWUA Chairman.
“We are very pleased with the announcement of the 2021 appropriation that will go toward constructing the water pipeline to Portales. The ENMWUA is working diligently in developing the means in providing a renewable water source for our communities for generations to come. This funding will be put to constructing pipeline, putting people to work, and building a secure future for Portales and our member communities,” said Ron Jackson, ENMWUA Vice-Chairman and Mayor of Portales.