Water rates going up

CNJ photo illustration: Liliana Castillo New Mexico American Water will increase its rates Thursday.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Clovis’ water rates are going up.

New Mexico American Water has announced it will raise its rates 15 percent after receiving approval from the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.

According to an NMAW news release, changes will result in additional revenue of $1.36 million annually.

The increase goes into effect on Thursday.

The average customer uses around 9,000 gallons a month and customers in that range will see an increase of about 20 cents a day or $6 per month, said Kathy Wright, vice president for NMAW.

The increase becomes larger with greater use by the customer.

The rate increase will help pay for infrastructure improvements, including $2.18 million to rehabilitate six irrigation wells and convert them to domestic use. Another $662,000 will be used to install 13,600 feet of 12-inch water main to serve the Clovis Industrial Park and improve water quality and fire protection for customers in the southern region of the city, the release said.

“We are making investments that benefit the service of our customers,” Wright said.

“Even with these increased rates our customers will receive safe and dependable water service for less than a penny a gallon.”

The release said since 2003 the water levels in the company’s wells in the Ogallala Aquifer have declined an average of 3 feet per well per year. Without new sources of water supply, the area may experience a water deficit within four to five years, the release said.

NMAW is using 59 wells to produce the same amount of water produced by 28 wells 10 years ago, Wright said.

“The reality is that we need to pull together as a region to address some of the vexing long-term water supply issues we are facing,” she said in the release.

NMAW is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing services to more than 48,000 people.