Reclamation Releases Final Environmental Impact Statement For The City Of Albuquerque's Drinking Water Project

Media Contact: Lori Robertson, (505) 462-3594

For Release: April 08, 2004

Today, the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and the City of Albuquerque ( Albuquerque) released the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for the City of Albuquerque Drinking Water Project. 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 project, Albuquerque will be able to fully utilize its share of the San Juan-Chama Project water.

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.

Reclamation requested government-to-government consultation with 27 federally recognized Pueblos and Tribes and contacted the Bureau of Indian Affairs to help identify and determine any effects to Indian trust assets. Implementation of the preferred alternative will not cause adverse effects to Indian trust assets.

The draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) was issued by Reclamation in June 2002. Responses to comments received from organizations and individuals on the DEIS have been addressed in the FEIS. Endangered species consultation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife has been completed. No decision will be made on the proposed federal action until 30 days after release of the FEIS. Electronic copies of the FEIS 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.