Study session on the lateral pipeline

CLOVIS – Between six to nine months of project design, a similar timeframe for acquiring easements and 12 to 14 months of construction, a lot of time still separates the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority from the Texico side that it is considering as part of its water distribution system.

So much the better, since an agreement with EPCOR Water, pillar of the lateral, is only at its starting point. But those who attended a study session Wednesday at the ENMWUA office saw no reason not to find common ground.

Part of the authority held a study session on October 20 for an initial discussion on the Texico Lateral, an element of the interim groundwater project that would connect Clovis, Portales, Cannon Air Force Base, Texico and Elida for the municipal water supply.

The town of Clovis, with a $ 2 million state economic development grant, is expanding its water system to the Clovis Regional Airport, roughly halfway between Clovis and Texico le along NM 523. Authority aims to use this extension and then continue to build their own the rest of the way to Texas.

“A big plus of this,” said Authority Chairman Mike Morris, “is that it shortens the Texico full-back and makes the option much better from an authority point of view.”

Max Carter, the authority’s representative in Texico, said the village council requested lateral movement east until it reaches NM 108 and then heads south to Texico on the west side of 108. The authority aims to build on private land adjacent to roads to avoid problems with any future road construction by the state.

The Wednesday study session, attended by 10 people, included EPCOR, which operates the Clovis water system. The Authority members are seeking an agreement whereby EPCOR would provide Texico with an interim bulk water allocation in exchange for the opportunity it would receive to acquire new customers east of the airport. The authority has proposed a jurisdiction limit half a mile west of 108 to separate the EPCOR and Texico water systems.

Daniel Bailet, vice president of business development for EPCOR, said that “the high level issue is that this is all good news,” but many low level issues remained.

“There are a lot of complexities,” Bailet said. “I think a small working group of us can come together and do it. I don’t see that happening in this meeting.

The members of the Authority accepted and organized a first call for Wednesday. Bailet, Operations Supervisor Mark Huerta and Director Tom Torres will participate on behalf of EPCOR. Authority will be represented by Morris, Administrator Orlando Ortega and Engineer Jim Honea.

Bailet’s talking points included an authority request for a percentage of connection fees and utility payments for these new customers. Ortega said the authority could also strike a deal with operation and maintenance costs.

Bailet said he would like EPCOR to have O&M responsibilities west of the line of jurisdiction, even if the company is only likely to take on a handful of residential properties as new ones. clients. He also said any deal would require flexibility, as EPCOR requires approval from the Public Regulatory Commission.

Morris said at the end of the session compromises were needed, but nothing Bailet discussed appeared to be a deal breaker.

The authority ultimately aims to connect the interim system to its main water source, the Ute Reservoir in Quay County, in which case it would no longer seek water from EPCOR to meet Texico’s needs. Ortega said it was probably about 15 years away.

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