Guest columnist: Bill’s passage would ensure water supply

On Friday, the New Mexico State Legislature passed an important bill, SB 209, which is now on its way to the governor’s desk.

SB 209 is a significant step forward in assuring continued municipal water supply for Clovis. Once signed by the governor and after the promulgation of related regulation by the New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission, the law would allow New Mexico American Water to augment its current water supplies for Clovis with wholesale purchases from other area water rights holders in order to ensure a stable local water supply year-to-year and season-to-season.

Specifically this bill allows regulated water utilities such as New Mexico American Water to include purchased water costs in rates after formal review at the NMPRC, letting the utility access the local market to purchase water from agricultural and other users, and avoiding capital investment and regulatory expense and delay as the amount of water purchased varies from month to month.

This legislation is expected to help utilities avoid capital outlays and the resulting rate increases and came about through the cooperation of many individuals and organizations to address water supply issues in our community.

In particular New Mexico American Water would like to thank Sen. Clint Harden, Rep. Anna Crook, Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield and the Clovis City Commission, New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission Chairman Pat Lyons, Sen. Stuart Ingle, the Eastern New Mexico Regional Water Authority, and former Lt. Gov. Walter Bradley for their leadership and hard work in getting this legislation passed.

This legislation enables a community solution to our common water supply challenges, setting up the ability to leverage existing private investment in water production and providing New Mexico American Water and its customers a cost effective additional supply source. It does not replace the long-term need for the Ute pipeline, and continued funding of that project remains critically important. We expect the passage of this bill to help bridge the gap between our existing supplies of water and the construction of the Ute project, and we once again thank all those involved for supporting its passage.