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

Q&A: Ladona Clayton talks water task force work

 

August 3, 2017

Ladona Clayton

A water task force chaired by Clovis City Commissioner Ladona Clayton is scheduled to provide an update on its work at 1 p.m. on Tuesday at the City Hall Assembly Room, 321 N. Connelly.

The task force consists of Clovis and Curry County representatives plus representatives from EPCOR Water, the Clovis Industrial Development Corporation and the Eastern Plains Council of Governments.

It has no decision-making authority, but can make recommendations to the city's Water Policy Advisory Committee, which can make recommendations to the Clovis city commission.

Clayton answered questions on Tuesday.

How many meetings have been held?

We have been meeting since January to make a recommendation for the Water Advisory Committee. We met every two to four weeks since we began and had a full session in June with long hours to finish up the plan. We met for two days for about 20-21 hours total.

How many more meetings are scheduled?

No more because we've already completed the plan, which will be proposed to the committee at a public meeting on Aug. 8 (Tuesday) at 1 p.m.

What was discussed?

We did extensive research to determine the state of our condition for water. The public will learn about our findings and it will all be made abundantly clear.

New Mexico Technical Institute researchers will present at the meeting to lay the groundwork to explain what was discovered. We learned the importance of the water situation in Clovis.

(The task force) has five very specific action plans to address the water issue. We want to assure our community that we will have a water supply (from this plan) for at least the next 40 years. We believe we've put out a plan that will work.

We're just presenting our proposal (at Tuesday's meeting) but we want complete community input.

We are recommending the committee involve all stakeholders in the Clovis community to have an opportunity to hear and respond to the plan. We want questions and recommendations (from the public). We want to be sure we give it as much exposure as possible as we lay out the entire plan.

Why the need for privacy?

We requested that the meetings be closed so that we could gather data that some people were not willing to share in public.

Private industries, farmers and other professionals have provided information for us to formulate a plan that they did not want to publicly disclose.

We wanted to protect their financial and private company information.

There was nothing secretive nor were we trying to hide anything or do any back-door deals.

We used any possible means to supply water to Clovis and the surrounding community.

We did try to accomplish a task that was difficult to accomplish without having private meetings to gather what was considered sensitive data.

Will there come a time to open meetings for public participation?

That's just a baby step.

I'm requesting town hall (meetings) and full publication on the (city's) website as well as an entire website for this purpose. I am requesting that all meetings are recorded so individuals who cannot attend may still view the meetings online. Every citizen of Clovis needs an opportunity to see, hear, and respond to this plan.

Are there simple solutions to conserving water?

No.

I wish I could say yes. This plan is going to approach the water issue using five different areas for water conservation, which will work together in tandem and all of them are complex.

We're looking at every conservation approach that we think will be affective. There's an affluent reuse plan as well as trying to conserve groundwater. At the same time, we have to reconsider how much groundwater we're using.

That's just a highlight, but they all must work together to give us an additional 40 years of water while we try to finish the Ute Water Project (a pipeline from Ute Lake near Logan).

Will the committee recommend buying water rights? Or leasing?

No. Those (water rights) are extremely expensive.

Leasing is a possibility in the plan. That will become clear when the plans roll out on Tuesday. It's a little more innovative than a typical approach.

What is the difference in leasing and buying? What are the pros and cons of each?

Any time you purchase outright, that's extremely expensive.

Most owners are not open to selling water rights, especially in agriculture.

When you lease, it gives the owner an opportunity to continue holding their rights but have incoming funds and tax benefits. It benefits the owner and the city. Owners don't lose something that has been in the family for generations.

- Compiled by Staff Writer Stephanie Losoya

 
 

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