Albuquerque Journal

Rural water projects in NM receive federal funding

$62M financing comes from Infrastruc­ture Investment and Jobs Act


SANTA FE — Two rural water projects in New Mexico are getting a cut of Infrastruc­ture Investment and Jobs Act money.

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced Monday that the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System would receive about $62 million in fiscal year 2023 to construct some 26 miles of pipeline. Additional­ly, the Jicarilla Apache Rural Water System will receive $12 million for water treatment plant upgrades.

The Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System is designed to make more surface water available as water in the Ogallala Aquifer declines and serves the Cannon Air Force Base, as well as Clovis, Elida, Portales and Texico.

Clovis Mayor Mike Morris said this project is vital to the area maintainin­g a steady water supply. “Simply put, our groundwate­r is going away. The water table is going down,” he said.

The Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System also received $160 million in Infrastruc­ture Investment and Jobs Act money in fiscal year 2022.

Morris said the federal and state government­s have been involved in the project for decades and provide 75% of the funding. The state pays 15%, and 10% comes from the localities that use it.

“While that 10% is small in relation to the rest of the grant funding that we’re receiving, even that is burdensome for us in the member communitie­s,” Morris said.

The project also received about $17 million through federal appropriat­ions and $30 million from the state last year. Morris said it’s slated to receive $94 million in total this year from the federal government, including the Infrastruc­ture Act funds.

The New Mexico projects are two of seven rural water projects nationwide that are slated for funding through the Infrastruc­ture Act. In total, the projects will receive $278 million, building on the $420 million allocated for rural water projects last year.

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