Governor announces $30M investment to provide long-term water supply to eastern NM

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CLOVIS, N.M. — On Friday afternoon, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was in Clovis to announce the state is putting $30 million toward a decades-long project to eventually supply water to communities in southeastern New Mexico. 

The Eastern New Mexico Water Supply Project is a pipeline that will eventually supply water from the Ute Reservoir to more than 70,000 residents in Clovis, Elida, Portales and Texico. The $30 million is coming from the governor’s capital outlay fund,  in addition to local federal and additional state funding.

“This is a community that quite literally, in zero to five years, could run out of water, so every industry, every consumer, and Cannon Air Force Base…” Lujan Grisham said. 

Right now, the communities get their water from the Ogallala Aquifer – but it’s estimated to be depleted in less than 15 years. 

“I set aside a bunch of my capital and said let’s finish it up,” Lujan Grisham said. “So our total, we’re going to spend well over $200 million on this project. I think they’re going to beat the schedule which is incredible – 2029 – but I think we can get there earlier.”

It’s not just those communities that are facing a water shortage. The governor said we all will have to address the problem, long term. 

“We don’t conserve water in this state, we have to do a much better job as water users – industry and consumers directly,” Lujan Grisham said. 

The project in Clovis is even more critical, as parts of the Ogallala Aquifer are now contaminated by PFAS caused by Department of Defense operations at Cannon Air Force Base.