Federal Budget Bill Includes Acequia Funding

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The Army Corp 1113 Acequia Program will be funded at $2.4 million for the 2010 fiscal year in a bill (click here for Bingaman’s press  release) that recently passed out of Senate-House conference committee.  The 1113 Program is part of a federal-state partnership in which acequia construction projects are funded with 75% federal, 17.5% state, and 7.5% local cost share.  Since 1986, dozens of acequias have benefited from the program which specializes in relative large projects that cost more than $500,000.

For the 2010 fiscal year, the acequias that are in line for funding are West and East Puerto de Luna, Los Ranchos de Chimayo, and Ponderosa Dam.  The Army Corp of Engineers receives recommendations from the Interstate Stream Commission for projects that are a good fit for the 1113 Program.  The Army Corp conducts engineering design, NEPA compliance activities, construction, and inspection.

For many years, the 1113 Program was part of the agency budget but three years ago it was zeroed out.  Special appropriations have been passed in the intervening years.  This year, special appropriations were introduced by both Senators Bingaman and Udall and Representatives Lujan and Teague.  However, it was the final stretch in conference committee where efforts by Senator Jeff Bingaman and others resulted in the $2.4 million appropriation for FY 2010.  This was a commendable feat considering budget constraints that limit appropriations by Congress.

The NMAA has made continuation of federal support for acequias a top policy priority.  It will take a concerted and united effort to reestablish the historic funding levels in the Army Corp of Engineers and possibly to expand funding in that agency or other appropriate federal agencies.  For more information contact the NMAA at 505-995-9644.