PORTALES, N.M. (AP) — The Ute Water Project program manager is warning [auth] that the Portales aquifer is depleting rapidly and its saturated thickness could be depleted within a decade.
The Portales News-Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/16kAAyd) that Paul Van Gulick told lawmakers this week at a legislative water and natural resources committee meeting that underneath Portales the Ogallala Aquifer has only 40 feet of saturated thickness. He says it is depleting at a rate of 4 feet per year.
Van Gulick later told the newspaper that the depletion doesn’t mean the region will be out of water “but it signifies an impending crisis.”
The Ute Water Project is a federally authorized $500 million project that will pump water from the Ute Reservoir in Logan to communities in Curry and Roosevelt counties.