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Brazos Drought Emergency Water Well
Rio Arriba County, New Mexico
Final Environmental Assessment and
Finding of No Significant Impact

Record drought in the southwestern United States continues to threaten domestic water supplies with severe shortages. The Brazos Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association (Association) of New Mexico, is dependent on groundwater for its water supply, which is pumped from an existing shallow infiltration gallery well and two deep wells located approximately 15 miles southeast of Chama. The existing groundwater wells have a depth of approximately 540 feet (Well #1) and 318 feet (Well #3), respectively, and pull water from the Chinle Formation. The shallow groundwater infiltration gallery well pulls water from the local unconfined aquifer. Prolonged periods of drought can have a negative impact on groundwater levels, often requiring the need for deeper and more expensive wells.

The Association’s existing groundwater Well #1 is considered to be in the later part of its useful lifecycle. A new well is needed to supplement the Association’s existing water supply in case of emergency. Precipitation in the area averages 16 inches per year, but may vary from less than 12 inches for several consecutive years to more than 20 inches. The seasonality of the precipitation and the lack of good quality surface water sources in the area make a reliable groundwater source extremely important to the Association’s members. Support for drought emergency well drilling was authorized by the U.S. Congress in Title 1 of the Reclamation States Emergency Drought Relief Act of 1991.

The purpose of the proposed action is to provide a safe and reliable source of domestic water for the Association to fully utilize their existing water rights with additional capacity and operational flexibility during an emergency. The project is needed because of the severe drought and the potential for contamination of the infiltration gallery well. In addition, the project is needed to supplement the Association’s existing water supply, which is rationed during summer months.

Brazos Drought Emergency Water Well Rio Arriba County, NM
Final Environmental Assessment and FONSI
 Finding of No Significant Impact
352 KB
220 KB
 Table of Contents
32 KB
 Chapter 1 - Purpose and Need for Action
157 KB
 Chapter 2 - Description of Proposed Action and Alternatives
34 KB
 Chapter 3 - Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences
107 KB 
 Chapter 4, 5, &6 - Consultation and Coordination, List of Preparers, References
56 KB
 Appendix A - Threatened and Endangered Species Lists
356 KB
 Appendix B - Public and Agency Correspondence
 Entire Document
1.7 MB



Last updated: December 18, 2008