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|Source Water Quality Protection|
The Albuquerque area relies on two sources for its drinking water: ground water from the Santa Fe Group Aquifer and San Juan-Chama surface water diverted from the Rio Grande via the San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project.
In 2012, 90 ground water wells supplied 18.9 billion gallons of drinking water. The San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project provided 14.4 billion gallons of purified surface water.
The aquifer is a vital resource on which not only Albuquerque, but the entire Middle Rio Grande Valley, depends for drinking water. Studies have shown that only about half of the water pumped from the aquifer is being replenished; the rest is “mined” – lost forever. San Juan-Chama surface water reduces dependence on the aquifer, allowing it to recover to serve as a drought reserve in times of minimal precipitation. In just two years of San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project operation, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has reported that ground water levels are rising in the Albuquerque Basin.
The Office of the State Engineer monitors Water Authority use of San Juan-Chama surface water. Conditions include mandatory reductions in use through water conservation, no diversion during low river flow periods, no consumption of native Rio Grande water, and no impairment to downstream senior water rights holders.
The transition to surface water, reuse and recycling, aquifer storage and recovery, along with water conservation, are the foundation of the Water Resources Management Strategy. The goal is to preserve and protect the aquifer to provide a safe and sustainable water supply.
The USGS measures well water levels every winter. Water Quality Specialists collect samples annually to monitor the chemical and biological characteristics of each well. While water quality in a single well does not vary much from year to year, water quality in wells in different parts of the aquifer can vary significantly. Water quality in wells near known or suspected soil or ground water contamination is monitored more frequently.
Source Water Assessment
In 2002, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) conducted a Source Water Assessment to determine how susceptible each well is to contamination. NMED reported that the Water Authority is well maintained and operated and that the wells are generally protected from potential sources of contamination.
Wells near known contamination sites are ranked highly susceptible to contamination. Potential sources of contamination include businesses that use hazardous chemicals such as automotive repair shops, gas stations, dry cleaners, and paint and hardware stores, car washes, construction sites, golf courses, interstate highways and city streets, military facilities, sewer lines and septic tanks, and unlined arroyos, ditches, and drainage canals.
Wells near known or suspected soil or ground water contamination sites are monitored more frequently. Traces of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) have been detected in wells near the San Jose Superfund site on south Broadway. Low levels of VOCs have also been detected in wells in the vicinity of the Buena Vista and Coal Avenue leaking underground storage tank site and the Yale and Central site. Clean-up of ground water contamination at I-25 and Jefferson has eliminated traces of VOCs previously detected in a nearby well.
NMED also conducted a Source Water Assessment for New Mexico Utilities, Inc. wells. The conclusions were that the wells were generally protected from potential sources of contamination.
To request a copy of either Source Water Assessment for the Albuquerque Water System (System Number 10701), or the New Mexico Utilities, Inc. water system (System Number 10901), contact NMED Drinking Water District I Office in Albuquerque at 222-9500. Please include your name, address, and telephone number and the name and number of the water system in your request. More information on the NMED Source Water Assessment Program is available at the NMED website .
Water Authority Water Protection Advisory Board
The Water Protection Advisory Board was established by a joint ordinance from the Water Authority, the City of Albuquerque, and Bernalillo County. The purpose of the Board is to:
After five years of planning and research, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Ground Water Protection Policy and Action Plan was adopted by the County in November 1993, the City in August 1994 and then by the Water Authority after its creation in 2003. The plan was updated and revised in 2009 with a Surface Water Protection Policy and Action Plan and integrated into a single Water Quality Protection Policy and Action Plan. For a meeting agenda, a copy of the Water Quality Protection Policy and Action Plan or the Annual Report, visit Water Protection Advisory Board or call 768-3634.
|Last Updated ( Monday, 01 April 2013 )|