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Farmington plans for the future of water use
Plan estimates there will be between 62,000 and 111,000 people in Farmington in 2060
FARMINGTON — Farmington has enough water rights to serve current needs and meet some of the projected future needs, but the city may eventually need to acquire more water rights, according to the 40-year plan presented to the Farmington Public Utility Commission during its monthly meeting Wednesday afternoon at Farmington City Hall.
The commission is recommending the City Council submit the 40-year Water Development Plan to the Office of the State Engineer.
Dominique Cartron, a consultant with Daniel B. Stephens and Associates, said the document is primarily a planning tool to prepare for the future. The city contracted with the Albuquerque-based firm to complete the plan.
“There’s not an immediate deficit of water rights,” Cartron said.
However, Cartron warned that Farmington could need additional water rights in the future depending on factors such as population growth.
The 40-year plan estimates show Farmington’s population will be between 62,000 and 111,000 people in 2060. There were 45,877 people in Farmington during the 2010 census.
The city currently has 29,400 acre-feet of diversion rights, however it only has 19,000 acre-feet of consumption rights. Farmington currently diverts more than 15,000 acre-feet of water annually and consumes nearly 11,000 acre-feet of water.
The 40-year plan estimates Farmington will need to divert between 21,200 and 45,336 acre-feet of water to meet demand. It projects needing between 15,717 and 33,207 acre-feet of consumption rights in 2060.
The plan calls for the city to acquire more water rights and build a pipeline from Lake Nighthorse.
The city has 3,600 acre-feet of water rights co-owned with the San Juan Water Commission that is stored in Lake Nighthorse. During a drought, the city can ask for the water to be released. Currently, that means releasing the water into the Animas River. Farmington would then divert it into Farmington Lake or the water treatment plant. However, there is no guarantee other water users that rely on the Animas River would not divert it before it reached Farmington’s diversion points.
Public Works Director David Sypher said a pipeline is also needed in case mine waste pollutes the Animas River happened during the Gold King Mine spill of August 2015.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.