By Jack King
A bill signed Monday by President George W. Bush includes $175,000 for the Ute Reservoir Pipeline project, said Chris Gallegos, press representative for Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M.
The Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill funds energy and water projects nationwide.
Domenici is chairman of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System Program Manager Scott Verhines said the money will go to the federal Bureau of Reclamation to be incorporated into a cooperative agreement with the water system.
“Congressional appropriations for the project have to come through a federal agency. This money will probably be part of the fiscal year 2005 cooperative agreement,” he said.
ENMRWS representatives visited Washington, D.C., Nov. 12-14 to lay the groundwork for asking Congress for federal authorization of the water project. Verhines said the group still is working toward that authorization.
The project is estimated to cost a total of $250 million. Project members hope to obtain 80 percent of that amount from the federal government, over an approximately 10-year period, Verhines said.
Members hope to obtain 10 percent of the project funds from the state and the remaining 10 percent from project members.
The completed pipeline would deliver 24,000 acre feet of water annually to project members Tucumcari, San Jon, Logan, Clovis, Texico, Grady, Melrose, Portales, Elida and Cannon Air Force Base.