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Clovis begins Phase I of wastewater treatment upgrade

Clovis, NM -- Water is an ever-present concern in our area, and the city of Clovis is working to ensure its residents have the water they need.

On Friday (Mar. 29th), the city of Clovis broke ground on a water treatment project that officials say could ultimately cut the city's consumption by thirty percent.

The wastewater treatment plant just south of Clovis treats about three million gallons of water a day, and that water can be used for irrigation.  Irrigation is by far the biggest water consumer in Clovis, and that water is drawn straight from the Ogallala, which has been dropping for decades.

"Currently, all the irrigation for our athletic fields, parks, all those areas, is done with groundwater directly out of the Ogallala Aquifer," says Clovis City Manager Joe C. Thomas, "And if we can utilize this reclaimed water, to offset that, then that will be that much less water we're pumping out of the aquifer."

The first phase of the project will create an intake system and a pipeline for effluent water that can be used for irrigation and dust control.  Phase one will cost about $4 million, most of which is being funded by the Water Trust Board, a state agency.  The entire project has a total price tag of $16 million.

"It's not something that's fully funded at this time, but we'll be able to build it in phases, and it's designed in a way that we can build it in phases," explains city engineer Justin Howalt, "So as funds become available, it allows us to go ahead and tie on where we left off and continue on with the project."

"Many years ago, a gentleman asked me, 'What's a glass of water worth?'" recalls Thomas, "And if we can preserve our potable water; make it sustainable over the next 50, 100 years, provide potable drinking water for the citizens - it's hard to put a price on that."

The expected completion date for the first phase of the project is January 2014.

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