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Open-file Report - 622
Winter 2019–2020 Water-Level Elevation Map for the Albuquerque Metropolitan Area

Geoff C. Rawling



Residents of the Albuquerque metropolitan area rely in part on groundwater for domestic, municipal, and industrial use. An understanding of changes in groundwater levels and groundwater storage changes in the aquifer is necessary to achieve groundwater management goals set by the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (2016), henceforth the Water Authority. Periodic and continuous water-level measurements in wells and maps of the water-level elevation surface, or water table, derived from these data are essential tools for understanding the groundwater resources of the region.

This report describes the preparation and interpretation of a water-table map for the Albuquerque area for the winter of 2019–2020. Water-level changes and changes in the amount of groundwater in storage in the aquifer since the predevelopment time period are presented. Predevelopment is defined by the map of Bexfield and Anderholm (2000; Fig. 1) and represents conditions prior to 1961. The present study also recasts recent water-level surface and changes since predevelopment in terms of water-level management criteria defined by the Water Authority (2016), shown in the block diagram in Figure 2. Referring to this diagram, the range of water-level elevations from 50 ft of drawdown to 250 ft of drawdown relative to predevelopment conditions is defined as the working reserve. The fuel gauge on the diagram pertains to the water level relative to the base of the working reserve, the 250-ft drawdown level. The 50 ft of aquifer below the working reserve is referred to as the safety reserve. The base of the safety reserve, at 300 ft of drawdown relative to predevelopment, is a conservative estimate of when irreversible compaction effects will start to be felt in the aquifer. The diagram also shows the management level of 110 ft of drawdown, which is a target average value drawdown for wells used by the Water Authority.

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OFR-622.pdf 9.69 MB 06/06/2023 02:00:33 PM 9.50 MB 06/06/2023 02:01:23 PM
ofr622_data_table.xlsx 30 KB 03/20/2023 01:12:24 PM

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