Water Resources Professional Project Reports


Lucas Curry

Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



This professional project will examine and map the water levels in Albuquerque for the year 2016 using ArcGIS. The potentiometric surface of Albuquerque’s aquifer will be estimated using data from the USGS, the City of Albuquerque, Sandia National Labs, and Rio Rancho. Problem Statement:

The aquifer underlying the city of Albuquerque is a complex system that continues to be studied, and its capacity was vastly overestimated until the 1990s when local water levels began to drastically decrease. Following the implementation of water conservation measures in the city, Albuquerque further changed its approach to water management in 2008 by incorporating surface water imported from the San Juan River. This allowed the city and its water utility, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA), to not only depend less on the Albuquerque aquifer groundwater but also to develop programs that would recharge the aquifer and use it as a safety reserve in dry years. By mapping this water level at various time intervals and quantifying the change in the volume of water, the impacts of these management strategies can be measured and further conservation can be planned. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the ABCWUA has developed a series of these maps in 2002, 2008, and 2012. This professional project’s client is the USGS and the project involves contributing to the production of the 2016 Albuquerque aquifer water level map, creating a detailed description of the methods performed, and developing a variety of analyses that verify the accuracy of the maps and demonstrate their utility. This will serve as a guide for the future production of Albuquerque water level maps and will aid in the continuation of this map series. The map itself will be used by the ABCWUA in evaluating its water resource management strategies and in planning for current and future management.


water levels, Albuquerque, ArcGIS, Albuquerque aquifer, ABCWUA, Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, Albuquerque aquifer water level map, management


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.