Clovis, N.M., Water Bills to Increase 13 Cents a Day

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (NMPRC) approved the final order increasing rates for New Mexico American Water customers in Clovis, according to a recent press release.

The NMPRC approved a $1.36-million increase in revenue, which will increase the bill for the average monthly residential customer using 5,000 gallons of water from $25.24 to $29.17, or 13 cents per day. Effects of the proposal for customers will vary according to customer class and usage.

The rate increase includes costs for major infrastructure improvements including $2,175,000 to rehabilitate six irrigation wells and convert them to domestic use and $662,000 to install 13,600 feet of 12-inch water main to serve the Clovis Industrial Park ,and improve water quality and fire protection for customers in the southern region of the city. Increased rates will also defray increased operating, maintenance, and power costs.

"We are making investments that benefit the service of our customers," said New Mexico American Water Vice President Kathy Wright. "Even with these increased rates, our customers will receive safe and dependable water service for less than a penny a gallon."

Since 2003, the static water levels in all of New Mexico American Water's wells in the Ogallala Aquifer have declined an average of three feet per well per year. Annual well production rates are decreasing, on average, 16 gallons per minute per well, which amounts to a 10 percent decrease in annual output. Without developing new sources of water supply now, the area may experience a water supply deficit within four to five years.

"I would encourage the commission to continue supporting the infrastructure investments needed to supply water to Clovis. Today we are running 59 wells to produce the same amount of water as we could produce with 28 wells a decade ago," said Wright. "The reality is that we need to pull together as a region to address some of the vexing long-term water supply issues we are facing."

The NMPRC will be holding a hearing on New Mexico American Water's application to drill a deep test well into the Lower Dockum Aquifer on May 22 in Santa Fe.