Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA: A sunbelt city rapidly outgrowing its aquifer

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Albuquerque, New Mexico, is located along the Rio Grande in central New Mexico, at an elevation of 5280 feet. Albuquerque`s climate reflects its high desert setting; average annual precipitation in the basin is only 8 to 10 inches. The Albuquerque metropolitan area is part of the rapidly growing {open_quotes}sunbelt{close_quotes} region of the southwestern United States and is undergoing rapid development. The municipal, industrial, and residential water needs of the entire population are currently met by groundwater, while agricultural needs within the basin are met by surface water diverted from the Rio Grande. While the city is blessed with an extremely ... continued below

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Turin, H.J.; Gaume, A.N. & Bitner, M.J. February 1, 1997.

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This article is part of the collection entitled: Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports and was provided by UNT Libraries Government Documents Department to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 23 times . More information about this article can be viewed below.

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  • Turin, H.J. Los Alamos National Lab., NM (United States)
  • Gaume, A.N. City of Albuquerque, NM (United States). Public Works Dept.
  • Bitner, M.J. CH2M Hill, Albuquerque, NM (United States)

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Albuquerque, New Mexico, is located along the Rio Grande in central New Mexico, at an elevation of 5280 feet. Albuquerque`s climate reflects its high desert setting; average annual precipitation in the basin is only 8 to 10 inches. The Albuquerque metropolitan area is part of the rapidly growing {open_quotes}sunbelt{close_quotes} region of the southwestern United States and is undergoing rapid development. The municipal, industrial, and residential water needs of the entire population are currently met by groundwater, while agricultural needs within the basin are met by surface water diverted from the Rio Grande. While the city is blessed with an extremely productive aquifer, current metropolitan area annual groundwater extractions of 170,000 acre-feet far exceed the sustainable yield of the aquifer. Continued drawdown will lead to greater pumping costs, ground surface subsidence problems, and eventual aquifer depletion. At the same time, industrial and non-point-source contamination and naturally occurring arsenic levels are raising concerns about groundwater quality. New Mexico water law has required the City to acquire surface water rights and allocations on the Rio Grande sufficient to offset estimated losses from the river induced by the City`s groundwater extraction. It has become increasingly clear that the induced recharge had been greatly overestimated, and that the City is thus not actually consuming its surface water as intended. The City, in cooperation with local, state, and federal agencies, has explored a variety of conjunctive use proposals, all designed to permit the City to use its surface water more directly. The City Council is presently considering a strategy calling for full use of the city`s surface water resources and creation of a groundwater drought reserve. Implementation of this strategy will require regulatory approval and major capital investment, both of which require political support.

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5 p.

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OSTI as DE97005043

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  • 27. congress of the International Association of Hydrogeologists: groundwater in the urban environment, Nottingham (United Kingdom), 21-27 Sep 1997

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  • Other: DE97005043
  • Report No.: LA-UR--97-852
  • Report No.: CONF-970925--1
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 505685
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc691300

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • February 1, 1997

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Aug. 14, 2015, 8:43 a.m.

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  • May 20, 2016, 12:59 p.m.

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Turin, H.J.; Gaume, A.N. & Bitner, M.J. Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA: A sunbelt city rapidly outgrowing its aquifer, article, February 1, 1997; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc691300/: accessed December 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.