100-Year Water Plan for Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, NM 

Challenge: Develop a Plan for a Resilient and Sustainable 100-Year Water Supply  

Solution.  The Water Authority in New Mexico is the state’s largest water utility, with over 200,000 accounts serving nearly 700,000 people with an annual demand of approximately 100,000 acre-feet per year. INTERA’s role as the prime contractor and overall project manager resulted in a plan that was not only approved unanimously by the Water Authority’s Governing Board, but one that puts the agency at the forefront of water planning in the US. Water 2120 (the Plan) was the result of a six-year effort involving Water Authority staff and multiple consultants. Development of the Plan included interaction with the Water Authority’s Technical Customer Advisory Committee (TCAC) and the Governing Board. In addition, the Plan was enhanced through an exhaustive public outreach program that included community conversations, a Town Hall meeting, and multiple presentations to federal and state stakeholders such as Bureau of Reclamation, the Corps of Engineers, US Fish & Wildlife, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, and many others.  

Water 2120 looks at the current water situation in Albuquerque and projects the community’s needs based on various scenarios of climate variability and population growth. The Plan builds on the Water Authority’s past planning successes with conservation and the addition of surface water to the supply portfolio, both of which have allowed significant recovery of the aquifer that was previously the sole source of supply. The Plan is based on making prudent future investments in conservation, ASR, stormwater capture, watershed restoration, and wastewater reuse (recycling). In so doing, it provides for a sustainable and resilient water supply in the face of an uncertain future, while wisely managing the groundwater aquifer as a drought reserve.