Sources of Acequia Infrastructure Funding

  •  ISC 90-10 Program: The Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) administers the 90-10 program

(formerly the 80-20 program) funded by an annual, recurring appropriation of $1.9 million from the

Irrigation Works Construction Fund (IWCF) to the ISC. Acequias can obtain funding 90% cost share

for engineering design and construction. The ISC on an annual basis awards funds to acequias based

on their readiness to proceed.

  •  Other ISC Statewide Appropriations: In 2013, the State Legislature made a special appropriation

of $2 million to the ISC for “acequia projects statewide.” Of that $300,000 was set aside to assist

acequias with engineering designs and $1.7 million was set aside for construction projects. The ISC

administered an application process and 15 shovel ready acequia projects were approved for

construction funding.

  • NRCS RCPP Program: Funded by the 2015 Farm Bill, the Resource Conservation Partnership

Program (RCPP) provides federal funding through EQIP and other conservation programs through

regional partnerships. In New Mexico, RCPP partnership includes the New Mexico Association of

Conservation Districts (NMACD), the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC), the New Mexico

Acequia Association (NMAA), and several local soil and water conservation districts. The

partnership through NMACD receives the federal money and distributes it to acequias through an

application process in which projects are ranked to determine their readiness to proceed. $1.2 million

was awarded to the partnership in 2015 and $3 million in 2016.

  •  NRCS Acequia Initiative: Also funded by the Farm Bill and available through an initiative by the

New Mexico NRCS office, the NRCS Acequia Initiative includes funding set aside at the state level

by the State Conservationist. The current initative has $500,000 in available funding from EQIP.

  •  Local SWCD Programs: Some Soil and Water Conservation Districts, including Taos and Easter

Rio Arriba, have allocated a set aside at the local level for local acequia projects. Each has their own

local application process and is subject to approval by the local SWCD board of supervisors.

  •  Water Trust Board: The Water Trust Board allocates funding through a competitive application

process for water conveyance, flood control, environmental, and watershed projects. The amount

available per year depends on the amount of severance tax bonds sold by the state (about 10% of the

total STBs goes to the WTB). The WTB allocated $200,000 out of the Acequia Project Fund for

engineering designs but that fund is nearly depleted. Few acequias have received funding through the

primary pool of water funds, which on a good year could be about $30 million.

  •  Local Acequia Funds: Acequias can assess their members to help pay for infrastructure repairs or

improvements. These assessments can be a set aside from a regular annual assessment or they can be

a one-time assessment for a specific project.

  •  Capital Outlay: The State Legislature annually approves a Capital Outlay bill which is subject to

veto by the Governor. Capital Outlay funds originate with Severance Tax Bonds sold by the state

based on increases in oil and gas revenue. The amount varies widely from year to year.

Appropriations are made for both statewide projects and local projects, which tend to be funded by

individual legislators with their respective “piece of the pie.” Acequia capital outlay appropriations

range from $10,000 to about $150,000. In recent years, with the exception of 2016, the total amount

given to acequias in aggregate has ranged from about $1 to $2 million per year.

  •  Army Corp of Engineers: Congress may include in annual appropriations funding for the Acequia

Program at the Army Corp. These are typically large scale projects from $1.5 to $3 million projects.

The Army Corp will handle all aspects of the project from assessment, design, and construction. In

the past, such projects have been subject to a 75% Federal, 17.5% State, and 7.5% Local cost share

where Capital Outlay has been an allowable source for the acequia cost share.