Water Resources Professional Project Reports

Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



In 2010 the Environmental Protection Agency chose a large watershed surrounding Albuquerque, NM for the implementation of a watershed-based NPDES stormwater permit. This region was one of three in the country selected for development of a watershed-based permit in response to recommendations published by the National Research Council in 2006. The other two pilot projects were located in urban areas in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Middle Rio Grande (MRG) watershed is much larger than the other two regions and has more complicated hydrologic, jurisdictional, and stormwater management issues that make development and implementation of a watershed based permit more challenging. The 21 entities considered for the permit in the Middle Rio Grande have varying administrative responsibilities for stormwater management and a wide range of experience with the NPDES stormwater program. This document describes the political, economic, regulatory and social challenges that must be addressed for successful implementation of a watershed based permit in the MRG region. Data collected through interviews and during stakeholder meetings was analyzed. This analysis identifies the concerns and reservations expressed during the planning process for the draft permit. Recommendations of possible management strategies for equitably allocating responsibilities under a watershed-based stormwater permit are provided. It was found that cost-sharing is difficult to implement in large watersheds with a variety of land-use practices and multiple jurisdictions, some of which overlap. It was also found that where the watershed-based approach for stormwater management has been successful, it relies heavily on community involvement. It is recommended that participating stakeholders develop joint Stormwater Management Plans based on geographic proximity, rather than on impact. This will allow entities to more easily manage stormwater both administratively and politically. It is also recommended that stakeholders develop cost-sharing and credit-trading programs that are based on one of the two following criteria 1) geographically defined SWMPS or 2) a watershed-wide stormwater utility or organization that can establish either tax-based or citizen-based funding mechanisms.

Language (ISO)



Runoff--New Mexico--Albuquerque Metropolitan Area--Management., Storm sewers--New Mexico--Albuquerque Metropolitan Area--Planning.


A Professional Project report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Water Resources, Water Resources Program, University of New Mexico.