The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

City asks for grant for water tank updates


April 15, 2015

Staff report

In an effort to update the city’s water storage tanks, Portales has submitted an application to the Water Trust Board, which is part of the state Water Authority, for $12.3 million in funding.

John DeSha, the Portales public works director, explained why the repairs are necessary.

“The repair and rehabilitation is necessary to continue running the tanks in the future,” said Public Works Director John DeSha. “We also have to replace the anti-corrosion painting, replace some things to bring them up to code and some of it is just routine maintenance.”

“We’re also looking to replace one of the tanks because the storage is 250,000 gallons and we’d like to have a larger one.

“The reason the estimate is $12.3 million is that we can always scale back the project or cut costs. Once the application is approved you can’t ask for more money. So they encourage you to ask for every dollar you could possibly need to repair rehabilitate, and replace the tanks.”

Portales’ water tanks are old. The newest tank is over 30 years old.

“One of the tanks is pre-WWII, we think around 1940, the others were built in 1948, 1959 and 1980,” DeSha said. “When they were built in the 1940s, some code restrictions that are around today didn’t exist.”

DeSha is optimistic Portales will get the money they need to fund the repairs and renovations, but knows that the project could be a long way from being started.

“I think it will be approved but it will be a matter of time,” DeSha said. “Even if the board decides it’s a necessary project, we probably won’t be funded for several cycles. We are under no obligation to start the project immediately, if we get funding it does not mean we have to start right away.

“We would phase the project out so it would probably take one or two years. Every tank would have a phase, we can’t take all the tanks off at the same time, so we would have to finish one before we started on another and you typically do that in the winter when the demand is low.”


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