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Water project nearing finish

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By The Staff

A project to improve the reliability of the Gallinas River’s water supply is expected to be finished soon, officials say.

The project involves the construction of a flow control weir and river gate at the Storrie Lake point of diversion upstream.

The previous river gate had deteriorated over the years and is being rebuilt to function as originally intended.

New Image Construction of Ribera is the contractor. No interference with irrigation is foreseen at this time. Construction is expected to be completed soon.

This project is needed to solve a stream flow water management problem that is occurring at the Storrie Lake Project point of diversion on the Gallinas River. The diversion structure serves as the principal device for controlling irrigation water, storm runoff, and heavy spring flows downstream.  

Conflict among the various stakeholders is common, especially when stream flows are low as water use is managed using sandbags by Rio Gallinas Water Master Luis Aguirre.

“Many flow measurement and distribution improvements have been made in the Gallinas system in 2009.  This project will improve the reliability of water supply, especially during periods of peak consumptive use, which occurs during low runoff periods,” State Engineer John D’Antonio said in a statement. “The Gallinas River is highly variable. We are working to put the tools in place to measure and manage this precious resource and provide water to all of the stakeholders.”

“Additional work has been done on the measurement program in Las Vegas on the Gallinas River,” said Water Rights Division District 6 Manager Linda I. Gordan. “Eight measuring stations have been installed, including the Gallinas Canal, Storrie Project and Acequia Madre de Los Romeros, and five more measuring stations will be installed by the end of the year.”

The diversion dam structure construction is being funded through the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer Water Resources Allocation Program, which was appropriated by the New Mexico Legislature in 2004 and 2006, and the New Mexico Natural Resource Conservation Service-Las Vegas Field Office.