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

Landowners, public invited to comment on water plan


July 24, 2018

CLOVIS — Tonight in Clovis, landowners with a potential stake in the city’s multi-part Master Water Assurance Plan will have an opportunity to ask questions and hear a presentation on “conservation easements, trusts and tax credit programs” with regard to groundwater banking and playa restoration. The public is invited, too.

“I’m expecting a pretty good turnout of those landowners who already submitted (Requests for Information), because they are still very interested in moving forward,” City Commissioner Ladona Clayton told The News. “We are asking for our landowners to commit to the groundwater banking and playa restoration, and they can’t make that commitment until they understand ... and they really want to understand these tax credits and how they could benefit as landowners by seeking tax credits, seeking a conservation easement.”

Subsequent to the April 2018 RFI from the city, there have been 19 “submissions from all over,” north and south of the city, said Clayton. Of that number at least half a dozen represent multiple landowners, and organizers are expecting about 25 to 30 present at tonight’s meeting, 6 p.m. in the Assembly Room of Clovis City Hall.

Leading the presentation on conservation rights is Peter Nichols of the Berg Hill Greenleaf Ruscitti, LLP, along with Ariel Steele from Tax Credit Connection, according to a city press release. Both individuals will also speak at this morning's Water Policy Advisory Board meeting, 9:30 a.m. at City Hall.

Water banking refers to the sale or perpetual leasing of water from agricultural wells that are turned off and eventually pumped at reduced capacity for domestic use. It’s intended to shore up local water supplies while the Ute Pipeline Project is being completed, which may take another 20 years or more. Interested well owners can come from anywhere in the county, but they have to meet requirements regarding pumping capacity, saturated thickness and water quality.

For those landowners interested in qualifying to participate in the city’s water banking and playa restoration plan, tonight’s meeting will be essential, Clayton said.

"For anyone interested in submitting a (Request For Qualifications), I would say it’s essential to be present at this meeting,” she said. “We’re following up the RFI with RFQ, they’ve got to be able to understand to the conservation easement question. ... It really narrows the field to only those who can meet the criteria.”

The process is expected to advance over the next several months.

Contact the city manager’s office at 575-769-7828 with questions.


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