A $1,050,000 budget was approved by the Arch Hurley Conservancy Board of Directors on Tuesday.
The budget is about $3,000 more than last year, said district manager Franklin McCasland.
Included in the budget is about $155,000 from its reserves which total about $1.4 million, McCasland said.
"If we run a tight ship, we should be able to leave the assessment at $10," McCasland said.
The board also approved keeping member assessment fees at $10 per irrigated acre and at $10 per acre foot for water delivered.
On Monday, Arch Hurley announced that it had ordered the irrigation water from Conchas Dam turned on. Water from Conchas Dam began flowing through the canal to the irrigation project at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
At 200 cubic feet per second, the water is moving at almost 2,000 gallons per second. It will take between 36 and 48 hours to reach the Tucumcari area, said a U.S. Corps of Engineers maintenance worker at the dam. So water will begin arriving in the Tucumcari area between Thursday morning and afternoon.
However, for farmers who have ordered water delivered to the outer reaches of the project, it may take up to two weeks, said Larry Perkins, board chairman.
Adults and children should stay out of the canal; the canal is not a place to swim and there are tunnels and siphons which cause a lot of turbulence, said officials at Arch Hurley and the corps.
The Arch Hurley board agreed several months ago to allocate an inch of water when it had the required number of orders from its members.
Over the past year, board members have been concerned about the efficiency of Arch Hurley's water delivery system. This year, however, with water levels low at the lake, the promise of irrigation water for farmers fields has been slim at best.
"I think we're going to have to just quit worrying about efficiency and supply the water to the farmers," said board member U.V. Henson.
In other business, the board agreed:
• To consider a contract that consolidates four previous contracts with the Big Mesa Water Corp., which serves residential customers in Conchas. The Bureau of Reclamation suggested that the district consolidate its contract agreements with Big Mesa which purchases water from the project.
• To rent a Doppler-type flow meter that would measure the rates water flowing in sprinkler irrigation systems that use water from the irrigation project. The rental is $600 for 30 days.
• To request $150,000 for 2010 from the ISC Reloan Program. ISC is a source of low-interest funding for water conservation projects, provided from the Irrigation Works Construction Fund and administered by the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission.