Groundwater pumping produces significant changes in water levels below Albuquerque

July 22, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Santa Fe Group aquifer system shows impact of groundwater pumping in the water levels beneath Albuquerque.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Reports published by the U.S. Geological Survey showed considerable changes in water levels below some parts of the Albuquerque metropolitan area as a result of groundwater pumping, according to a press release.

For many decades, the water supply requirements of the Albuquerque metropolitan area were met almost entirely by groundwater withdrawal from the Santa Fe Group aquifer system, and reliance on groundwater led to variable responses in groundwater levels across the area, with declines in some locations exceeding 120 feet below predevelopment water level conditions, stated the release.

“We observed that over time the way groundwater moved and where it was [presently] changed significantly,” said USGS hydrologist Rachel Powell. “Groundwater used to flow roughly parallel to the Rio Grande valley, but now it moves away from the Rio Grande and towards clusters of water supply wells in the east, north and west parts of the metropolitan area.”

In December 2008, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority began diverting surface water from the Rio Grande with the San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project to lower the reliance on groundwater reserves, continued the release.

While groundwater level declines are significant in many locations, hydrographs (graphs of water level change) show several occurrences where groundwater levels are increasing since the introduction of surface water supplies from the San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project, noted the release.

You can find the rest of the press release here.

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