The Doña Ana County Flood Commission and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are to sign an agreement next week to design and construct a dam in the lower Spring Canyon to protect the Village of Hatch. 

The signing ceremony, which will take place on 10 December, marks the completion of the feasibility phase, which looked into flooding concerns affecting the Village of Hatch, sources of water overflow and viable solutions. It also celebrates reaching a milestone in the project that enables the beginning of the design and construction phase of the new dam.

The $12.7 million project will build an earthen embankment dam to help prevent flooding, located upstream of the Village of Hatch and adjacent to the colonia of Milagro.

The Hatch dam is funded through a combination of sources including USACE, the New Mexico Legislative appropriations and the Flood Commission.  The latest cost estimate for the design and construction phase is $12.7 million. USACE will fund 65% and the remaining 35% will be funded through a local match.

“We have received three legislative appropriations totaling $2,225,600, leaving approximately $2,219,400 to be provided through more legislative funding, other grants or Flood Commission reserves,” said John Gwynne, director, Doña Ana County Flood Commission.

Major support in legislative funding came from the efforts of New Mexico State Sen. Jeff Steinborn, (D), State Reps. Rodolpho “Rudy” S. Martinez, (D) and Nathan P. Small, (D).

Over the past fifteen years, during the monsoon season which runs from June through September, water flowed from the Spring Canyon and the Placitas Arroyo posing a threat to people’s lives and causing significant flood damage in the Village of Hatch.  Homes, businesses, roadways and crops were significantly impacted. In fact, excluding damages to streets, utilities, vehicles and agricultural properties, flood damages to structures were estimated at $1.4 million in 1988; $1.7 million in 1992; and several million in 2006, with up to three feet of water accumulation in residential areas.

 “Once completed, the dam will help keep the Spring Canyon from overflowing and flooding the Village of Hatch,” Gwynne said.  “We are excited to reach this milestone and get started on the design and construction, putting us closer to our goal.”