STEP 9 – The People in Our Growing Town
The River Water We Use
Back in cowboy days, it was easy to get water for crops or cows. You would just dig a ditch and river water would flow onto your land. Sometimes the people downstream got mad. They needed that water too. Fights broke out. People asked the government to protect the water for everyone.
In 1948 the United States decided on a plan for the Colorado River and the rivers that flow into it. The plan said we could use some water in the in the San Juan River. We would have to buy rights to that water. So we did.
A big problem was how to get the water to Albuquerque. We built a tunnel that is 26 miles long to bring the water under the mountains. Once it gets past the mountains the water goes into the Chama River. The Chama River goes into the Rio Grande. The Rio Grande brings the water to Albuquerque. Then we can use it. Whew! That was a lot of work!