In the 1960s, Albuquerque city leaders contracted for annual rights to 48,200 acre-feet of San Juan - Chama water. At that time, a series of pipelines and tunnels were built to carry the water to rivers and reservoirs, delivering it to the Rio Grande watershed and on to the Albuquerque area - a journey of nearly 200 miles.
Scientific studies in the 1990's showed that Albuquerque's aquifer - once thought to be limitless - was smaller than originally believed.
In addition, water was being pumped from our aquifer twice as fast as nature could replenish it.
The City of Albuquerque (now the Water Authority) proposed use of the imported Colorado River water for drinking. The San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project was conceived as a means of providing a sustainable water supply for future generations. Project construction began in 2004 and was completed in December 2008.
Every gallon of San Juan - Chama water used is a gallon that doesn't get pumped from our aquifer. This allows us to maintain the aquifer as a drought reserve for future generations and to prevent land-surface subsidence (ground sinks) associated with aquifer depletion.
Other facets of our strategy for a sustainable water supply include conservation, reuse, and aquifer storage and recovery.
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