The Pecos Valley Artesian Conservancy District (PVACD) board of directors approved a $10 million loan to purchase land and water rights Tuesday.
First American Bank is providing the loan for the PVACD. There will be a 2-mill increase within the district, which includes Roswell, to pay off the loan. The loan is amortized for 10 years with a variable interest rate.
The PVACD has property tax levy authority and has an elected five-member board of directors.
Other agenda items discussed were the sale of used equipment a dump and four pickup trucks which drew a sum of just under $32,000.
A report on the status and progress of telemetry equipment and meter preventive maintenance was given. A list of future meetings and conferences with other agency around the state and nation was discussed, as well as which board members would attend.
In new business, K&B Tech Services submitted a proposal. Superintendent Aron Balok recommended that the work is undertaken at an hourly rate as it is difficult to determine the scope of work until it is begun. Specifics of the project were not discussed. TriWest Fencing was awarded a contract of approximately $17,000 for fencing and gate installation.
Floyd Truetken of the Bitter Lakes National Wildlife Refuge stated that biologist Jeff Sanchez observed a large and hungry population of Saltcedar beatles that are feasting on the saplings and shoots of previously cleared sites.
Truetken additionally anticipated an opportunity to discuss a protest filed by the PVACD against the refuge but was informed that it is now a litigation matter and is not subject to an open forum. Arrangements where made for a meeting in the near future with staff and council.
The PVACD was created by order of the District Court of Chaves County on Jan. 11, 1932. The district was created to conserve the waters of the Roswell-Artesian Basin, including the lands within the basin located in both Chaves and Eddy Counties.
While it is commonly thought that the PVACD only concerns farmers and ranchers, everyone who uses water has a high stake in the wise use of water resources.
Since its formation in 1932, PVACD has participated in joint studies with the New Mexico School of Mines, U.S. Geological Survey, Office of the State Engineer, and the Inter-Stream Commission to further the understanding of hydrology in the basin.
Irrigation in the basin reached an all time high in 1953 and 1954 with approximately 144,600 acres under irrigation. Water levels in the aquifer began to decline, allowing salt water to move in north and east of Roswell.
Working with the state engineer, the PVACD started a hydrographic survey to determine how much irrigated acreage there was and how water was used. The data was used to define water rights.
Between 1956 and 1966, an adjudication process occurred in the basin. This resulted in the reduction of 12,000 irrigated acres. A court decree resulted requiring all groundwater use to be metered and irrigation use limited to an annual diversion of 3 acre feet per acre or about 1 million gallons of water per acre of land.
From 1958 to 1983, the PVACD purchased and retired almost 7,000 acres of irrigation water rights in an effort to bring the groundwater basin into balance.
The PVACD advances water conservation with a low-interest loan program to help farmers increase efficiency by ditch lining, field leveling, and sprinkler irrigation systems.
Balok concluded that he wants to advance community awareness of the PVACD.
The PVACD board meets on the first Tuesday of the month.