WASHINGTON — The Ute Water pipeline project has received $1 million from the Department of the Interior.
The $432 million project, which will deliver reserved water from the Ute Reservoir in Quay County to authority members in Curry and Roosevelt counties, was federally authorized in 2009 with the caveat that the federal government would fund 75 percent of the project, the state 15 percent and the authority members 10 percent.
Though the amount given is far less than 1 percent of the federal government’s $324 million tab, Clovis Mayor and Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority Chair Gayla Brumfield said a snowball effect could take place.
“There’s not anything that’s cautiously optimistic; it’s very much optimistic,” Brumfield said. “It makes it move from an authorization to a funded program. From the first time I went to Washington, the Bureau (of Reclamation) didn’t have that much support (for the project). We’ve turned that around.”
The $1 million came from the Department of the Interior, according to a news release from U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. The money will go toward building an intake structure at the Ute reservoir, the first phase of the project.
The authority already had enough money to begin the first phase of the intake structure construction. The first phase is an approximate cost of $11.5 million. The $1 million, and any left if the project bids are lower than expected, will roll into future phases of intake structure construction. The entire intake structure project is expected to cost $27 million, Brumfield said.
Attempts to contact David Lansford, Brumfield’s predecessor as mayor and authority chair, were unsuccessful.
Officials held a formal groundbreaking in August, but Brumfield said construction will not begin for another 90 days.
Authority members include Clovis, Elida, Grady, Melrose, Portales, Texico, and Curry and Roosevelt counties.