Martinez signs capital outlay bill with $89M for water projects

Santa Fe New Mexican | March 11, 2014

By Staci Matlock
The New Mexican | 0 comments

The city of Las Vegas, N.M., will get funding to expand one of its reservoirs as part of a capital outlay bill signed Tuesday by Gov. Susana Martinez that commits $89 million to beef up water supplies, repair dams and fix acequias around the state.

The bill also provides money to buy new firetrucks, repair school buildings and fix roads.

Las Vegas officials say expanding Bradner Reservoir is vital for the chronically water-strapped city, which came within six weeks of running out of water in 2011. The city provides water to 18,000 customers, including New Mexico Highlands University and a regional hospital. Most of the city’s water comes from the Gallinas River, with water stored at Peterson and Bradner reservoirs. But Bradner can only store about 300 acre-feet of water, and the dam at Peterson has leaked like a sieve for years. (One acre-foot of water equals 325,851 gallons.)

The capital outlay bill signed by Martinez includes $10 million to design, construct and expand Bradner dam so the reservoir can store up to 2,300 acre-feet of water. The city asked for $16 million.

Other projects funded through the capital outlay bill:

• $282,000 to design and build water improvements for the Eldorado Area Water and Sanitation District south of Santa Fe.

• $6.2 million for watershed restoration improvements, including forest thinning statewide.

• $150,000 to plan and design a watershed education center in Pecos.

• $1.9 million to design, build and expand a wastewater system in Pecos along N.M. 63 and Rincon Road.

• $1.6 million to improve the Santa Cruz regional water association system in Santa Fe and Rio Arriba counties.

• $8 million for a new wastewater treatment plant in Chama.

• $2.1 million to the Office of the State Engineer to purchase and install water meters statewide.

Martinez said investing in water infrastructure is vital to helping the state’s economy.

Contact Staci Matlock at 986-3055 or smatlock@sfnewmexican.com. Follow her on Twitter @stacimatlock.

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