Project Category: Rebuilding our Public Infrastructure
Organization Name: New Mexico Economic Development Department FUNDIT
101 Cortez Ave.
Hurley, New Mexico 88043
Project Cost: $1,889,031
This project exemplifies extraordinary collaboration between 18 public and private entities in a rural, economically distressed region to address dire water needs of the residing populations within the Southwest Region of New Mexico. Due to environmental and commercial reasons, many public governments in the area are challenged with depleted water sources. Together, the Town of Hurley, City of Bayard, Town of Silver City, Village of Santa Clara, Grant County, six water associations, NM Environment Department, NM Economic Development Department, Interstate Stream Commission, NM Finance Authority, USDA Rural Utilities Service, SWNM Council of Governments and Freeport McMoRan Copper Mining, Inc. have come together to help solve the respective public entities’ water shortages by developing a water transmission system which will span the entire county and unite the communities. The project has served as a model for collaborative effort and planning across numerous public and governmental entities to improve the quality of life for the residents and prepare a better foundation for possible future economic opportunities. As well, the many regional players have shown tenacity and creativity in identifying and cobbling together numerous funding sources to make the project happen.
Current Status: Phase 1A and 1B are in progress, well are being tested.
Community Needs Addressed:
The region of Southwest New Mexico is considered a severely economically distressed area. Each community within the area faces particularly distinct challenges with their fresh water supply; however the communities within the county are all interconnected through their water supplies and problems. The county is facing severe water supply shortages due to drought and depleted water sources. Additionally, the copper mining company, McMorRan, who has supplied several communities in the region with water is stopping to do so at the end of 2018. The following are examples of the evident needs in regard to water which were identified by the respective communities:
- The Town of Hurley’s water source has been provided by the mining company, McMoRan, since 1956. In 2008, the Town was informed that the mining company would no longer provide the town’s water source and the Town needs to find their own water source by the end of December 2018
- Silver City identified the need to acquire additional water rights in the near future in its 40 year water plan.
- The City of Bayard’s wells are extremely negatively affected by drought and one well has gone dry. To compound challenges, Bayard is tasked to provide an emergency water supply for Hanover, which increases the strain on the already stressed aquifer. MacMoRan, the mining company, will stop providing water to another unincorporated community of Turnerville which places the responsibility to the Hanover MDWCA which cannot supply enough water for their own residents, therefore increasing the burden to Bayard.
- The Village of Santa Clara is producing a minimal amount of water from their water source because of the low and erratic water flow from the surface water flow from the Twin Sisters Creek.
Benefits and outcome:
The population of the area which will be directly affected by this project is 18,444 residents. Because of this project, the area will see numerous benefits including:
- An identified primary water source for Hurley and North Hurley
- An identified secondary water supply for Bayard, Santa Clara, Hanover, Arenas Valley, Rosedale, Pinos Altos, Tyrone
- Recharge credits were approved for 747 acre feet of water
- 193 acre feet of water with a value of $1.8M was donated to the project
- Economic opportunities will be able to manifest for an economically disadvantaged county because there will be a reliable water source.
- $2.1M matching funds have been committed from ISC/AWSA
Project partners and collaborators:
Many partners and collaborators have been brought together to work on this project. Because of this, the Grant County Water Commission was formed between Grant County, Silver City, Santa Clara, Bayard and Hurley. The players in the project include: Town of Silver City, Town of Hurley, Village of Santa Clara, City of Bayard, Grant County, North Hurley MDWCA, Hanover MDWCA, Arenas Valley MDWCA, Pinos Altos MDWCA, Rosedale MDWCA, Tyrone MDWCA, SWNM Council of Governments, New Mexico Finance Authority, NM Interstate Stream Commission, HUD (CDBG), NM State Legislature, NM legislators, NM Congressional Delegation, NM Economic Development Department, US Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service, Freeport McMoRan Copper Mine, and the NM Economic Development Department. Additionally, the Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments approached the New Mexico Economic Development Department’s FUNDIT program which brings together over 13 different federal and state funding entities to discuss funding opportunities and provided financial advice and connections to financial programs.
What makes your project unique?
The project is unique because it addresses severe needs for fresh water in an economically depressed area. In order for the project to be successful, collaboration and communication has had to occur across many different governing entities. Innovation has resulted on many levels in terms of working together as a region to find creative funding strategies to address a dire situation. The effort has resulted in $1.8 million dollars in donated water rights. Each community has contributed a portion of improving their system to ensure a long term water supply for the County and many partnerships between the various agencies, local governments, and mutual domestic water associations have developed to provide a potable water source for the entire county for years to come.
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