Water board refining pipeline plan

CNJ staff

The Water Policy Committee met Wednesday at City Hall. Here is a report on the meeting.

Wednesday’s agenda included no action items.

• Board Chairman Randy Crowder presented members with a revised water reuse pipeline plan from engineers Camp Dresser and McKee. The pipeline would allow the city to reuse wastewater for such things as the watering grass on city-owned fields.

Crowder said preliminary looks at the plan caught a few errors, including overstating of profits and water lines described in the plan, but not shown on the map.

A special meeting was called for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall to discuss any concerns with the plan, as CDM looks to finish 25 percent of the design.

“We want to make sure, as far as we know, that it’s very accurate,” Crowder said.

• Board members discussed a state Public Regulation Commission hearing Friday on a proposed deep well for New Mexico American Water.

The water utility wants to drill a well deeper than 2,000 feet on property it owns in southern Curry County.

The hearing is set for 9 a.m. at Marion Hall (224 E. Palace Ave., Santa Fe).

City Attorney David Richards said normally New Mexico American could only pass drilling costs to ratepayers if the drilling results in water.

The company says there is a 50 percent chance the well will result in a worthwhile amount of drinkable water, and would not want to risk the estimated $1 million expenses.

The company wants to be able to pass 100 percent of the costs to ratepayers whether the drilling yields results or not. The company, Richards said, feels the risk is too high and wouldn’t drill if it had to risk the full cost of failure.

The city supports the project, because Crowder said, “We believe it is necessary to try everything.”

But Richards said ratepayers shouldn’t bear all of the risk, and the city wants New Mexico American to be limited to 50 percent recovery from ratepayers if drilling yields nothing.

• Kathy Wright, vice president of New Mexico American, said the company is set to publicize its water conservation program. Upcoming mailings, Wright said, would include information on specific lawn watering days and other water-saving tips.

The plan is voluntary. Committee member Marcus Brice, who does code enforcement for the city, said almost every person who calls him wants the conservation to be mandatory.

He said that opinion is widely held by those who take the time to call him, but not necessarily held by Clovis citizens as a whole.