Meetings watch: Water Policy Advisory Board meeting

Highlights from Tuesday’s city’s water advisory board meeting at city hall:

• During an end of summer water usage report, New Mexico American Water Co. Operations Manager Jim Bonner said summer water usage in Clovis averaged between 9 million to 10 million gallons of water a day, the peak water use reached 11.6 million gallons of water during the first week of August.

He said water usage has gone down to 7.5 million to 8 million gallons of water a day.

• New Mexico American General Manager Kathy Wright said the water company’s rate increase hearing before the state’s Public Regulation Commission is scheduled for Jan 22.

The city’s water supplier applied in July for a 16-percent increase. The regulation commission approved a 13 percent rate increase for the company in 2006.

The deadline to sign up to intervene is Oct. 5. The rate increase could hike the average water bill in Clovis by $5 a month, according to Wright.

Wright said the money generated from the increase would help pay to convert six agricultural wells for water production.

• Board Chairman and City Commissioner Randy Crowder said there is funding available from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for the city’s effluent reuse pipeline project.

Crowder said the city could apply for up to $20 million in funding for the project.

The $16-million project proposes to use water from the wastewater treatment plant to irrigate city property. City Manager Joe Thomas said the school district, county and Clovis Community College have expressed interest in purchasing effluent water.

The water would be pumped through a series of pipes snaking through the city from the wastewater treatment plant to the City Pond on 14th Street.

• Thomas said the city is still investigating potential funding sources for a proposed wind energy project. He said an avenue for revenue includes the Clovis schools, which could apply for funds as a renewable energy project.

The project proposes building a wind farm on city property near the landfill that could generate 10 megawatts of power. The city plans to sell excess electricity to Xcel Energy.

Crowder said the city commission is proposing an ordinance to allow wind energy turbines in residential areas. He said power production in the city is presently limited to industrial zones.

• Crowder said a Clovis delegation including Mayor Gayla Brumfield will visit Monday with New Mexico’s Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., to discuss the Ute Pipeline project. Legislation to authorize $327 million in federal funding for the project is headed for Senate approval in an omnibus bill.

The $437 million project proposes to build a pipeline that would carry water from the Ute Lake reservoir to several eastern New Mexico entities.