At the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) board meeting Sept. 10, District Commander Lt. Col. Antoinette Gant presented a cost-share agreement to the board that was subsequently signed by her and MRGCD Vice-Chair Eugene Abeita.
The agreement commits both agencies to a feasibility study for constructing 50 miles of Rio Grande levees between the towns of Bernalillo and Belen, N.M., with MRGCD as the local sponsor. Results of the study will be presented to Congress for funding.
The flooding problems in the project area were documented in a 1979 feasibility report. At that time, levees to reduce the flood threat for Corrales, Isleta, Mountain View, and Belen East and West units were found to be economically justifiable and were authorized for construction in the Water Resources Development Act of 1986. A General Design Memorandum for these five units was also completed in 1986. However, in this document it was determined that the Mountain View and Isleta units were no longer economically justified and were dropped from any further design or analysis.
With the completion of the construction of the Corrales Unit in 1997, and after analyzing the actual costs of the Corrales Unit, MRGCD felt the Mountain View and Isleta units would be economically justified and requested, by letter, that they be included, as originally authorized.
The new study will provide an evaluation of the Isleta, Mountain View and Belen East/West units and will identify a technically sound and economically justified plan for construction. A draft General Re-evaluation Report is currently underway and scheduled for completion in 2013. The cost of the study is estimated to be approximately $1 million, and the construction of the levees would cost between $400 and $500 million.