Logan withdraws from water project

By Mike Linn: CNJ news editor

The Village of Logan will no longer be involved in the Ute Pipeline Project, a decision that is expected to have little impact on the project and Logan’s future water supply.

Logan Village Administrator Larry Wallin said the town will continue to reserve its 400 acre feet of water from the lake, but a town sewer project takes financial priority over the project.

Since the lake provides plenty of water for the town’s underground aquifer, Wallin said the pipeline is not necessary for Logan’s future water supply. Members of the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority said officials recommended Logan remain out of the project for that reason.

“A lot of towns said they would kill to have our aquifer,” Wallin said. “We’re still going to support the project 100 percent.”

Jude McCartin, a spokesperson for U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, said the reason communities were asked to contribute to a pay study was to gauge their desire to be in the $307 million project, which seeks to pipe water from Ute Lake near Logan to communities in Quay, Curry and Roosevelt counties.

“We did expect that the time would come when one of the communities decided not to participate, but that in no way will jeopardize the project as a whole,” McCartin said.

Logan’s dissent from the project is unlikely to increase the price tag for the other 11 communities in the Rural Water Authority, Project Manager Scott Verhines said.

The decision, however, will change the project’s design to some extent, he said.

“It’s not a big deal, it’s nice to know their position has now been presented to the Water Authority. They’ve kind of gone back and forth with that over the last couple of years,” he said.

Portales Mayor Orlando Ortega said Logan’s decision may help decrease the cost to other entities.

“We need to do some number-crunching to see if the cost goes down, and we’re hoping that it does, of course,” he said.