LRGPWWA Blog

Lower Rio Grande Public Water Works Authority staff and board members will use this blog to post topics and initiate online conversations between community members.
Water Conservation Draft Plan Comment Period closes 1/14/17

Update 1/24/17
We received 242 responses to our Water Conservation Survey.  Some people took the survey online, but most filled out the survey form that was enclosed in the December bills.  69% of the respondents have lived in the area more than 20 years, and 85% were over 50 years old.  13% said they were uninformed about water conservation, 20% said they were very knowledgeable, and the rest were somewhat informed.  Only 1% indicated that they thought conservation was unnecessary, and the top reason for conservation (35%) was for future generations, followed by limited water resources (25%), the current drought (21%), and lower water bills (18%).  The #1 & #3 recommended conservation measures endorsed by those who took the survey were public education and conservation programs in the schools, with low-flow fixture incentives as #2.  Higher rates was the least popular measure.  We'll discuss some of the  comments from the surveys here soon.
Update 1/17/17Update 1/17/17
The public comment period is now closed, and the report is being finalized.  We'll post it on the Projects & Planning page when the final draft has been submitted.  Liie Hill from DB Stephens has compiled the survey results, and they are now posted on the Projects & Planning page.  We will be posting some discussion of the results and your comments here in the next several days.
Update 1/11/17
As we near the end of the comment period, we would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to our survey either online or by turning in the form sent out in the billing.  We truly appreciate your time and your thoughtful comments.
Original Post
A survey about water conservation was enclosed in the bills that went out the 1st of December, and we've had a pretty good response so far.  Thank you very much to those who took the time to fill out and return the survey!  You will find a link to take the survey online on our Home page, Customer Service page and Notices page, so if you haven't done it yet, please take a few moments and let us know what you think.

The Draft Water Conservation Plan was presented to our Board of Directors on December 13th and at public input meetings that evening and the following morning.  We are so grateful to those who participated!  You can read or download the Draft Plan on the Notices page, and we are accepting public comments on the Plan thru January 14th.  Send your comments to Karen Nichols, Projects Manager at karen.nichols @ LRGauthority.org or PO Box 2646, Anthony NM 88021.

Source Water Protection Plan Comment Period

Update 7/25/16: The comment period has closed, and we are grateful to those who provided their comments to help us improve the plan.  The final Source Water Protection Plan will be presented at our regular monthly Board of Directors Meeting at 9:30 am on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at our Vado Office, 325 Holguin Road, Vado NM.  This is an open meeting, and all are welcome to attend.

Original Post:
You will find our Draft Source Water Protection Plan along with information about the  planning process and how to comment on the plan on the Projects & Planning page.  The 30-day comment period ends July 21, 2016, and the final plan will be presented at the August 17, 2016 regular monthly Board of Directors meeting at 9:30 am at our Vado office, 325 Holguin Road.

Although the planning process will be coming to an end, Source Water Protection is an ongoing process in which everyone has a role.  Please have a look at our Draft Source Water Protection Plan and Map of Potential Contamination Sources and contact us if you would like to comment or have questions.

Karen Nichols, Projects Manager 575-233-5742 ext 1018
karen.nichols@ LRGauthority.org

Berino/Mesquite-Del Cerro Water System Improvements Project

1/11/16 Update - Scheduled Outage in the Bosque are of Berino:  The contractor will be tying in new lines in the Bosque area of Berino on Wednesday, January 13th.  Expect the water to be off in this area all day beginning about 9 am.  We apologize for the inconvenience.  Please see the Projects & Planning page for more information and a list of the streets that will be affected.

3/4/15 Update
:   Work is scheduled to continue thru the end of March tying in houses to the new lines, and 3/2 installing lines in Cebolla Lane, 3/9 in Ward, 3/12 thru 3/19 in Tarin.

The project includes a bore under the railroad tracks in Mesquite at Mesquite Drive & Hwy. 478 which is done, and one  in Berino at Berino Road at Hwy. 478 scheduled to begin 1/27/15.  Boring involves large equipment and pits on either side of the tracks, so please be extra cautious driving near these locations.

Construction began in July 2014 on this project.The contractor is Smithco Construction, and the engineering firm is Vencor Engineering, LLC.  Total project budget is $10.4 million, and nearly $8.7 million of that is in the construction phase.  The construction period is expected to take 548 days with completion scheduled for mid-January of 2016.

Project funding comes from USDA Rural Development, NM Water Trust Board, Governor Richardson's Colonias Initiative, NM Legislative Capital Outlay Appropriations, an NM Finance Authority Planning Grant and LRGPWWA General Funds with bridge-loan funding from Rural Community Assistance Corporation.  The project will replace aging and inadequate water pipelines in these three communities as well as completing a section of our Interconnection & Looping Project to provide a large diameter pipeline interconnection between the Mesquite and Berino water systems.

Please use caution when driving in construction areas.  We will post updates and respond to your questions and comments here.  Comments require approval in order to keep our site free of spam.

Karen Nichols, Projects Manager
575-233-5742 ext. 122

Website Updates

We have been making some updates and changes to the website that will continue over the next week or so.  The information here is being updated and reorganized, and we putting up more pictures and images.  The Customer Service and Documents pages have been updated and rearranged to be easier to read, and the Board & Elections page has seen some work.  We do check for comments here regularly, and will be happy to hear from you and respond to your questions

Karen Nichols, Projects Manager

La Mesa Well Project

Burn Construction was given Notice To Proceed on our La Mesa Well Project on August 1st, and will begin work on August 13th.  This project is located up on the mesa away from roads and should cause no disruption of traffic.  The project is expected to take about 10 months to complete, and it will include a new well, water storage tank, and transmission line to connect to the existing water system.

Mesquite Wastewater Project is under construction

7/11/13 Update:
Good News for Mesquite Residents!  The repaving has finally begun!  And even better news - the water system improvements project will be out to bid soon, but we've gotten pipeline stub-outs installed across the streets that are being paved with the sewer project so we don't have to tear up and repair the same streets twice!

6/11/12 Update:
On Friday, we were approved for a Colonias Initiative Trust Fund grant/loan in the amount of $1,670,257 (10% of this is a loan) to fully complete the Mesquite Wastewater Project and include all existing customers on the new system.

5/16/12:

Last night, our contractor (Layne Southwest, Inc. - they changed their name from Reynolds Southwest, Inc.) held a public meeting to inform the community about the project.  Thank you to the Mesquite Volunteer Fire Dept. for the use of their station.  The contractor has set up a portable office in the community, and will be starting with the forced-main from Vado at the south end of the project.  The construction period under contract is 365 days.  The project is funded by USDA Rural Development and will provide most existing Mesquite sewer customers with a new gravity collection system.  The funding is not sufficient to complete the project, and we are actively seeking additional funding.  As it stands, some customers will remain on the old system until additional funding can be obtained.

There will be no cost to existing sewer customers for connection to the new system as part of the project.  New customers who wish to be connected during construction should contact us at 575-233-3947 or come by the Mesquite office -- there will be hook-up fees for new connections both during and after the project.  See the Projects & Planning page for information on financial assistance for water & sewer hookups through USDA Rural Development Rural Housing Service.

Watch this Blog and the Projects & Planning page for project updates.

Karen Nichols, Projects Manager

Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan 2014-2018 & CDBG Public Hearings

UPDATE 8/6/12:  Thank you very much to those who took the time to attend our public meetings, we truly appreciate your ideas & suggestions.  The first draft of this year's ICIP will be presented to the board at its regular meeting on August 15th at 9 am at our Vado Office, 325 Holguin Road, and a final draft will be prepared for adoption at the board meeting on September 19th.

ORIGINAL POST:
As we begin our annual update and revision of our Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan, we are seeking input from our members, customers, and the public.  This five-year plan outlines and prioritizes needed upgrades or additions to our water & sewer systems in order to meet  regulatory requirements and provide reliable and affordable service to our customers.  You will find information about the Plan, the process and how to participate on the new "
Projects & Planning" page here at our website.  Please have a look and post your comments here, or fill out a paper form and mail it in or drop it off at one of our offices.  You can also email us at "info @ lrgauthority.org"

We are partnering with Dona Ana County to hold two public input meetings as part of this process.  The first part of each meeting will be a CDBG Public Hearing to gather comments & suggestions from the community about LRGPWWA water & sewer infrastructure needs.  The CDBG Hearing will be adjourned, snacks will be served, and then there will be discussion all infrastructure within the community including water, sewer, streets, drainage, lighting, parks & recreation, solid waste, etc.

The first public meeting will be at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 24th at Butterfield Park Community Center, 9350 Berry Patch Lane, hosted by Commissioner Krahling.

The second will be at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 31st at Del Cerro Community Center, 180 La Fe, hosted by Commissioner Garrett.

We hope you will join us to discuss the needs of your community at this meeting.

Karen Nichols, Projects Manager

La Mesa Building Project is under construction!

Update 5/16/12:
Certificate of Substantial Completion was issued May 4, 2012.  Final walk-thru is scheduled in Mid-June. 

Update 12/13/11:

Our contractor has found a new supplier for the metal building materials who is much more responsive.  A new timeline has been established, and we are now looking at substantial completion by the end of March and project close-out by the end of April 2012.  We are satisfied that our contractor has done everything he could to move this project forward in spite of a very bad situation with a supplier.

Update 10/12/11:
La Mesa residents have probably notice that there has not been a lot of activity at the construction site lately, but that should change very soon.  We have a scheduled delivery date from the metal building manufacturer of October 15th, and once those materials arrive, the contractor can get to work on the building itself.  We are now anticipating completion in late January 2012.

Original Post:

I am happy to announce that this project begun by the La Mesa Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association, funded by La Mesa MDWCA and Lower Rio Grande MDWA Legislative and Colonias Initiative grants, and now assumed by the LRGPWWA is under construction. 

Office and Operations Staff cleared out the old office last Friday, the phones are forwarded to our Mesquite office, and the contractor has been given a green light to proceed.  Expected completion is mid-September. 

Meanwhile, La Mesa customers will find their Customer Service Clerk, Benita Evara, at the Mesquite Office where their accounts are being entered into the new billing software.  The payment drop-box will remain in La Mesa, but will be relocated on the office site during construction. 

I will post more information later, and if you have a question, leave a comment here or give us a call at 575-233-3947.

Karen Nichols, Projects Manager

Merger Complete

The merger of the the Mutual Domestic (Water Systems) into the Authority is complete. Office staff have standardized the customer policies and rates; and Field Operators implemented the functions of operatings as one system.

Managers, Specialists and Technicians are turning the Authority into the entity that Residents; Boards; Legislators; Agencies and supporters anticipated and envisioned, complying with state and federal laws and statutes.

A Special "Thank You" to the Authority Staff performing the work; the Board providing the direction and governance; and the individuals and organizations providing us the guidance and assistance.

Happy New Year!

Martin Lopez, GM

Employees

My name is Martin Lopez and I was hired by the Authority Board on October 6, 2010 as the General Manager. In turn I have begun the process of hiring staff to fill the various positions within the Authority from managers, clerks, specialsit to field technicans and operators. The positions were made available to current employees of the five founding entities of the Authority. The offical start (date of hire) for all the staff will be November 3, 2010.

Keep posted for new information.

Governance Document on Oct. 20th Board Agenda 10:00 a.m.

Posted by Karen Nichols, Desert Sands MDWCA Business Manager

The Governance Document Committee was honored for their work by the LRG Authority Board last week.  I will get a few pictures posted soon from the luncheon in their honor. 

Committee members Jose Luis Arellano, Gabriel Gutierrez, Jeannette Gomez and Santos Ruiz worked with Olga Morales of Rural Community Assistance Corporation for many long hours over many weeks to draft this critically important document. 

The Committee Draft was turned over to the Board in September, and the Board immediately sent it to our attorney for review.  She made some edits, and the Board reviewed the Draft Governance Document extensively at its October 6th meeting.  The Directors sent it back to the attorney with a few questions, and the Final Draft is on the agenda for adoption at the Board meeting on Wednesday, October 20th, 10:00 a.m. at the Vado MDWCA office, 325 Holguin Road, Vado NM. 

The proposed Governance Document is available to download as a PDF file here at our website on the Documents page, or paper copies are available at any of our five offices.  You may send in your comments by email (info@lrgauthority.org), by mail addressed to Robert Nieto, President, Lower Rio Grande Public Water Works Authority, 325 Holguin Rd, Vado NM 88072, and you can attend the Board meeting on the 20th. 

Talk with us here!

From Karen Nichols, Desert Sands MDWCA Business Manager

Our new web site is about to go live, so it's time we posted something here on the blog page.  I have been learning how to edit the web site and post things, so since I seem to be the resident computer geek (not sure how that happened!), I'll start this off.  Others from the Authority will be posting here too, so whoever is posting will identify themselves in each post.

We plan to keep this web site updated regularly and get a lot of information posted here to keep you informed -- first about the progress of the merger, and then about the governance, management & operation of your LRG Authority.  We're going to do our best to make this a bilingual site, but we are not there yet.  Right now, RCAC has not quite finalized the site, and the translation isn't finished.  Also, we're going to have to get Authority staff in place and make sure that new content gets translated, too.

So please leave us comments, questions, suggestions.  We're looking forward to hearing from you!

Karen