Albuquerque's aquifer recharging

Posted at: 05/20/2013 5:39 PM
Updated at: 05/20/2013 5:45 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Good news for Albuquerque. The city’s vast underground water, the aquifer, supply is making a comeback. It's actually growing in a time of severe drought.

Three reasons for the turnaround: conservation, re-use, and surface water flowing in through a big muddy open pipe they call the Rio Grande.

It’s that San Juan-Chama water that gets diverted into the Rio Grande, then treated and cleaned up and pumped into Albuquerque’s water system. During the drought the city-county Water Authority goes back to pumping groundwater in the hot months, but the aquifer is still recharging.

“We’re starting to see the aquifer begin to come back,” said Water Authority chief John Stomp. “ It was dropping two to five feet a year in some places, and it’s starting to come back up. We’re still trying to protect the aquifer for the long term.”

One way we’re doing that is using less water. Despite the drought, the Albuquerque metro is right on target for the Water Authority’s conservation goal . From January 1 through April 30 we used about 8 billon six hundred million gallons of water.

“Our customers are really doing a great job,” said Water Authority Conservation Officer Katherine Yuhas.

 “We are right on track to meet our conservation goal this year. We’re not into the really terrible hot part of the year, but so far we are actually a little bit under our goal. We’ve got a little savings,” Yuhas said.

The bad news is the latest long range forecast from the National Weather Service predicts the drought will persist, or even get worse, from now through the end of July.