Reclamation Releases Record of Decision for the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the City of Albuquerque's Drinking Water Project

Media Contact: Art Valverde, (505) 462-3542

For Release: June 02, 2004

Today, the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) signed the Record of Decision for the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for the City of Albuquerque Drinking Water Project.

The recommendation is to proceed with the environmentally preferred alternative as identified by the City of Albuquerque, Reclamation and in the FEIS. The project is the main component of the Albuquerque Water Resources Management Strategy, adopted by the City Council, which aims to efficiently use existing water resources and develop a safe and sustainable water supply for Albuquerque residents to the year 2060.

The FEIS considers the effects of Albuquerque using its San Juan-Chama Project water to provide a sustainable drinking water supply for its citizens. The four primary project elements are: (1) diverting San Juan-Chama Project water after it is released into the Rio Grande, (2) transporting the raw water to a water treatment plant, (3) treating the raw water to drinking water standards, and (4) distributing the treated, potable water to customers in Albuquerque's water service area. Currently, Albuquerque relies on aquifer pumping to provide its residents with water. Continued reliance on water from the aquifer is unsustainable and could have other serious environmental consequences for Albuquerque residents. In 1963, Reclamation issued a contract to Albuquerque for 48,200 acre-feet of San Juan-Chama Project water, and with this Drinking Water Project, Albuquerque will be able to fully utilize its share of the San Juan-Chama Project water.

The FEIS evaluates several alternatives, including the no action alternative, and describes the existing environmental consequences of Albuquerque using its San Juan-Chama Project water. The FEIS considers the following issues: aesthetics and visual resources, air quality, aquatic life, biodiversity, cultural resources, energy, environmental justice, floodplains, geology, hazardous materials, human health and safety, hydrology of surface and groundwater, Indian trust assets and other tribal resources, land use, noise and vibration, recreation, riparian areas, socioeconomic conditions, soils, threatened and endangered species, traffic and circulation, upland vegetation, water quality, wetland/non-wetland waters, wildlife, and cumulative effects.

The preferred alternative is the construction and operation of a low-head diversion dam. It permits the greatest flexibility for diverting the San Juan-Chama Project water from the Rio Grande, meets the project purpose and need, and avoids major impacts to environmental resources. With mitigation measures incorporated, there are no significant environmental or socioeconomic impacts under the preferred alternative. Copies of the Record of Decision are available from Marsha Carra, Bureau of Reclamation, Albuquerque Area Office, 555 Broadway NE, Suite 100, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102; telephone (505) 462-3602; facsimile (505) 462-3797; e-mail: The FEIS is also available on Reclamation's web site at:

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.