Like many other states in the west, New Mexico is arid. Water is a precious natural resource that is becoming increasingly scarce as demand for the resource increases. Although political and legal considerations weigh heavily on how water is extracted and used, impartial science plays an important role in informing decision-makers on water resource issues. At the Bureau of Geology, many of our basic research projects deal directly or indirectly with the need to understand the geologic context and hydrologic dynamics of our state’s aquifers.
Since the early 1990s, the Bureau’s staff has been engaged in hydrogeologic studies of New Mexico’s aquifers in cooperation with partners at the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, the New Mexico Environment Department, the U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources, and other federal, state, and local agencies. Beginning with geologic mapping and aquifer analysis in the Albuquerque Basin and a hydrogeology study in Placitas, the Bureau has since developed an aquifer mapping program that applies a combination of geologic, geophysical, hydrologic, and geochemical information to develop descriptive models of ground water flow in important aquifers around the state. An Example of Aquifer Mapping, download the free PDF document (1.77 MB).
Aquifer mapping projects are funded through a combination of sources: (1) direct appropriation of AMP program funds from the State Legislature; (2) individual contracts with collaborating governmental agencies; and (3) the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources’ base budget. Aquifer Mapping Program in 2013 Flyer
The objective is to provide critically needed information on the state’s ground water. The products of AMP studies improve our understanding of the geologic framework of aquifers, their hydrologic characteristics, water levels in the aquifers and how they change over time, and the occurrence of natural contaminants such as arsenic and uranium that affect the potability of ground water. Results of these works have contributed to resource management tools such as long-term aquifer monitoring networks and conceptual and quantitative regional ground-water-flow models used by State and local water managers.
- New Mexico Office of the State Engineer and Interstate Stream Commission
- New Mexico Environment Department
- New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources
- State Lands Office
- Federal Agencies (e.g. Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U. S. Forest Service, and U. S. Geological Survey)
- Municipalities, pueblos and water utilities
- County land-use planners
- Private Consultants
- Home owners and rural water users
- Developers, realtors and home buyers.
- Water rights administration and management
- Water quality impairment from naturally occurring contaminants (uranium, arsenic)
- Ecosystem hydrology
- Water availability and sustainability
- Drought management and vulnerability assessment
- Development of deep or saline water sources
- Peggy Johnson Senior Hydrogeologist, Manager Aquifer Mapping Program
- Stacy Timmons Senior Geologist, Assistant Program Manager
- Dave Love Principal Environmental Geologist
- Lewis Land Hydrogeologist
- Talon Newton Hydrogeologist
- Shari A. Kelley Geophysicist, Field Geologist
- Bruce Allen Field Geologist
- Geoff Rawling Field Geologist
- Dan Koning Field Geologist
- Brigitte Felix GIS Specialist, and Program Production Coordinator
- Trevor Kludt Geo-hydrological Laboratory Associate
- Kitty Pokorny Hydrogeological Lab Technician
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