Acequias Construction Programs
Staff are working with the New Mexico Acequia Commission and Acequia Association to draft a set of Acequia and Community Ditch Infrastructure Fund (ACDIF) guidelines for NMISC adoption in March 2021. These Guidelines will be used to develop recommendations to the NMISC for the use of up to $2.5 million per year from the Irrigation Works Construction fund for planning, engineering design, and construction of acequia and community ditch projects. The 90/10 Acequia Grant Subprogram will be incorporated in this new process.
The Acequia Construction Program includes the following five ongoing Sub-Programs:
The Loan Program
The Loan Program makes low-interest loans from the Irrigation Works Construction Fund available to acequia, community ditch, and other organizations for construction and repair of irrigation works. Acequia associations may use the loans to pay their share of costs of construction Programs. The loans are made at 2.5 percent interest and the usual repayment period is 10 years.
90/10 Acequia Grant Program
The New Mexico State Legislature appropriates funds from the Irrigation Works Construction Fund to the State Engineer for grants for improvement and repair work on specific acequias. Ninety percent of the project cost, up to $150,000 per project can be covered by the grant. Total construction costs under this program are capped at $167,000.
CORPS SECTION 215 AND 1113 ACEQUIA PROGRAMS
The federal Water Resource and Development Act of 1986 authorized the Secretary of the Army to undertake measures necessary to preserve and restore the diversion structures and associated canals of acequias. Under both the Section 215 and 1113 Acequia Programs, the federal government funds 75 percent of total project costs. The annual federal funding for Section 215 and 1113 Acequia Programs, routed through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ranges from approximately $1.5 million a year to approximately $5 million a year. The Commission provides 17.5 percent of the total cost, and the acequia association provides 7.5 percent of the total cost.
Under the Section 113 Acequia Program, the Corps is responsible for all design, National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) compliance activities, real estate easements, advertisement of the construction bids, contract awards, construction inspection and oversight, and project financial management. In the Section 215 Acequia Program, the acequia controls design and construction, normally using Commission and NRCS assistance and expertise. NEPA compliance activities, usually consisting of simple environmental assessments, remain the responsibility of the Corps.
Under the Corps 215 Program, the acequia manages construction activities. Project designs are typically completed by the Natural Resource Conservation Service under the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission Technical Assistance Program. NEPA compliance is managed by the Corps.
Legislative Special Appropriations Projects (Capital Projects)
The New Mexico Legislature appropriates funds to assist individual acequias with specific projects. Commission staff reviews plans, specifications, and ditch eligibility; executes contracts and agreements; and inspects the completed projects.