The Water Web Quest
1. After visiting steps 1 and 2, click here for a mapping activity to clarify where the water in the San Juan - Chama Project comes from and why it is governed by the Colorado River Compact.
2. Investigate Albuquerque's average rainfall. How much do we get a year? Graph the average amount of precipitation we get each month. Do we get enough rain in a summer to grow blue grass lawns (approximately 40 inches of water per season)? You can see in Step 3 that we do take out some non potable water from the river for irrigation of some public turf on the north side of town. However, this water it is part of our allotment of San Juan - Chama water. What policies would you put in place to assure that Albuquerque has plenty of turf for recreation, but not so much that our use is unsustainable in the future?
3.The dam we built across the Rio Grande (Step 5) is an adjustable height dam. When water levels in the river are low, we can lower the dam so that we do not take any water. The level of water in the river depends primarily upon snow melting from the mountains in Southern Colorado. Which months would you expect more river water in the mix of river and ground water that we provide to our customers? Which months would we need to rely on mostly ground water?
4. Read here about some of the environmental issues that were important in planning and constructing the San Juan - Chama project. Research the Silvery Minnow and explain why or why not you think it is important to contribute to the Living River Fund.
5. To understand how the San Juan - Chama Surface Water Treatment Plant (Step 7) came to be built, make a time line of these events. Research the terms you do not understand and summarize the events in your own words. (For a simpler version of the activity, click here.)
6. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "protects public health by ensuring safe drinking water and protecting ground water. OGWDW, along with EPA's ten regional drinking water programs, oversees implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which is the national law safeguarding tap water in America."
What are some of the pollutants that EPA controls? What are some current water quality issues?
7. There are several ways to help protect our water resources:
- use less water
- waste less water
- reuse more water
The Water Authority is completing the Southside Re-Use Project that will help us reduce our reliance on our underground aquifer water. It is up to all of us to use less water and waste less water. Research water conservation and make a Public Service Announcement (PSA). If your PSA is informative and well-done, we will link to it from our education web site!