KUNM

Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority

User #3345408 via Pixabay / Creative Commons License

Albuquerque’s water utility is helping out a small New Mexico town to the south.

The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority sent a 6,000-gallon water tanker to supply residents in Carrizozo while that city investigates sulfate contamination in the groundwater supply.

Creative Commons via Pixabay

UPDATE 8/24: The vote to put additional fluoride into the water supply in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County was postponed Wednesday night, after lacking enough votes from water utility board members to pass the measure.

Bernalillo County

Water has always been at the center of the controversy over Santolina, a massive project planned for over 20 square miles on a dusty mesa west of Albuquerque. The project got another boost Tuesday after officials voted to allow the project’s developers more time to come up with a plan for water use.

Mike Tungate via Wikimedia / creative commons license

The Bernalillo County Commission will hold another public meeting Tuesday on Santolina, a controversial 22-square mile residential development planned for an area west of Albuquerque.

Community Groups Take On Santolina In Court

Aug 31, 2016
Victoria Edwards/KUNM

Stories of outsiders coming to New Mexico to exploit the state's resources are nothing new – think Spanish colonization.

That’s how many critics see Santolina, a 22-square-mile development proposed for an area west of Albuquerque. But opponents of the project are fighting back in court.

Santolina Approval Stalls Without Water Contract

Jul 22, 2016
mtungate via Flickr / Creative Commons License

 The Bernalillo County approval process for a huge housing development on Albuquerque’s west side stalled on Thursday.

The county planning commission chair blamed the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority for not working with Santolina developers to get a water contract in place that would spell out water availability for the 38,000-unit housing development.

Mike Tungate via Wikimedia Commons CC

The planned Santolina suburb on Albuquerque’s West Mesa has hit a potential snag: There is no agreement in place between the developers and the Water Authority, a mandatory pre-requisite for the next phase of the project. Without that agreement in place, Bernalillo County planners are hesitant to send up the second stage of Santolina’s plan for approval before the County Commission.  

ABCWUA Will Not Bring Back Fluoridated Water

May 18, 2016
Steve Johnson via Flickr / CREATIVE COMMONS

UPDATE 5/19: Water utility board members decided Wednesday not to add more fluoride to drinking water to promote oral health in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the board voted to cut the funding for supplemental fluoridation.

Supporters of fluoridation argue it benefits low-income people who don’t have easy access to affordable dental care. Critics of supplemental fluoridation say it creates  health risks.

Rainwater Harvesting Pilot Underway

Sep 23, 2015
Courtesy of New Mexico Water Collaborative

In an effort to reduce water consumption, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority is partnering with the New Mexico Water Collaborative to study rain harvesting systems that can store up to 100 times more water then the average rain barrel. 

Watering Restrictions Crimp Daytime Sprinklers

Apr 1, 2015
Karen Roe via Compfight

Watering restrictions are officially in effect for many New Mexicans.

Starting Wednesday, Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority customers are prohibited from using sprinklers between 11a and 7p. 

Katherine Yuhas, Water Conservation Officer at the utility, said predictions for a moist spring and summer mean they could bank water in the aquifer by leaving it in the ground instead of pumping it.

Water A Concern For Santolina Critics, Hearing To Continue In May

Mar 26, 2015

Bernalillo County commissioners did not vote on whether to approve a controversial development plan at a hearing Thursday, instead scheduling additional time for public comments later this year.

Developers say the Santolina Master Plan community could someday be home to as many as 90,000 people.

Opponents spoke at a hearing this week in an effort to convince commissioners to vote down the plan. Many said Santolina would take away needed water resources in Albuquerque's South Valley.

Rita Daniels

Businesses, military bases and city utilities have dozens of permits to release pollution into the Rio Grande watershed. Albuquerque’s wastewater treatment plant is one of the biggest sources of discharges into the river.

The plant has had trouble with regulators and neighboring communities in the past, but they’re making some headway. 

On a recent sunny day in Albuquerque’s South Valley, water utility workers bent over a grate taking readings of the city’s treated wastewater as it rushes from the Southside Water Reclamation Plant into the Rio Grande.

Ed Williams-KUNM

 

Editor's Note: After we published this story, a spokesperson for Kirtland Air Force Base wrote with a series of objections to the story. Kirtland did not allege any factual inaccuracy in our story but we did make a change to reflect that Kirtland's lead discharges into the Rio Grande watershed are not in violation of environmental laws. You can read all of their objections and our responses here

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Rita Daniels

    

Kirtland Air Force Base will not submit a plan to pump and treat contaminated groundwater at the end of this month as expected.

Officials from Kirtland and the state say they still need more information before moving forward on the cleanup of an underground fuel spill that has contaminated Albuquerque’s aquifer.