The sustained future of the region cannot depend on only one source of water. Since Ute Dam was built over 50 years ago, the reservoir was always intended to supply water to communities in eastern New Mexico. It was understood that the Ogallala Aquifer was already declining and could not support the towns and cities indefinitely. We know that the reservoir will have to be managed too so that it is not depleted in times of drought. In fact, the sustained future of the region will depend on having a robust water portfolio.
At the base is Ute Reservoir, which can reliably supply all of the member’s water needs except in times of extreme or prolonged drought. Fortunately, the regional pipeline intersects pockets of the Ogallala aquifer that are expected to persist a little longer and water can be added to the system from these pockets to augment the supply. Just as important is water conservation which is already being aggressively implemented by member communities through education and incentives. Water consumption has steadily declined even as the population is increasing.
Water reuse is another component of the portfolio and Clovis, Portales, and Cannon AFB have all been building their capacity to treat and reuse wastewater. All of these components together make a robust water supply that future generations can rely on.