Project vital to eastern New Mexico


By David Lansford: Guest columnist

The Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System, also known as the Ute Water Pipeline Project, is the most important issue facing the communities of Curry and Roosevelt counties.  The need for this project is undeniable.  The alternatives to this project present a grim and depressing picture.  This project must be pursued with unrelenting resolve until the first drop of water is delivered.

Currently, the United States Senate is considering the passage of authorizing legislation that will move the decision to the president’s desk for final action.

We must hope Congress and the president will recognize this project for what it is. It is clearly a project that is fundamental to the survivability of eastern New Mexico. No other project or program is more important to eastern New Mexico than this rural water project.

Unfortunately, many people do not realize how pressing the water situation is in eastern New Mexico. We could pretend the problem is not there or we could carry on as wishful thinkers.  This type of thinking is familiar and common and typically ends in a crisis of extreme proportion.

On the other hand, we can deal with the truth and the facts as they are. In doing so, we must first commit to doing our part.

Doing our part means putting our share of the money required to build this project on the table. No one should expect anyone to help them unless they are willing to help themselves first.  Thankfully, the Clovis City Commission is fully committed and has demonstrated that commitment by financially allocating the funds to pay our part.

Today, this project would not be where it is if it was not for the courage and commitment of several key individuals at the state and federal level. Sens. Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman are champions for this project and Congressman Tom Udall led the charge in the House of Representatives where the authorizing bill passed by a 2 to 1 margin.

In addition, Gov. Bill Richardson, Sen. Clint Harden and Rep. Anna Crook have all been strong advocates for this project.  Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the state engineer, John D’Antonio, has worked extremely hard to help this project be understood so that decision makers will see the need and realize the consequences for taking no action.

In summary, it is fitting to say that without this project, our future is far less than bright. With this project, we can move into the future with boldness and confidence. We can live up to the slogan on the city seal that describes what Clovis stands for.

That is, of course, peace, progress and prosperity.

David Lansford is former chairman of the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority. Contact him at: