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STEP 10 - This Is the Lake

Rivers Move the Water, Lakes Store the Water


In 1965 we bought the right to use some of the water from the San Juan River. We knew that the water was 200 miles away from our town. We knew the water was on the other side of a mountain range.  We had a plan to get the water here.


We built a 26 mile long tunnel to bring the water under the mountains. Then we needed a place to store it. We built Heron Lake and El Vado Lake to hold the water until we wanted it.


The water from the lakes flows into the Chama River. It flows into Abiquiu lake where we store until we need it. This lake is also manmade. We built a dam to make the Lake. When water flows from Abiquiu Lake the Chama river takes it the Rio Grande. The water then flows into Cochiti Lake. This lake is not for storing water. It was built to hold spring runoff waters so the Rio Grande would not flood.



This is the lake

where the water is stored,

for the people who live

in our growing town,

who built the dam

on the Rio Grande,

where machines cleaned the water,

that flowed through the Clean Drinking Water Plant,

that ran the pumps,

that filled the pipes,

attached to the faucet,

that filled the cup,

that held the water that Jack drank.




Manmade lakes

Return to Water System Diagram
Heron Lake Disclaimer
El Vado Lake Disclaimer
• Abiquiu Lake Disclaimer
• Cochiti Lake Disclaimer


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Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority Return to Water System Diagram Go to Step 11, The Snow that Melts in the Spring Click Here for a Mapping Activity