Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico

Client: Pueblo of Acoma
Project: Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico

Baca Pipeline Project

NRCE was hired by the Pueblo of Acoma to develop a conceptual design and reconnaissance-level cost estimate for groundwater development. This project involved a series of tasks that resulted in a groundwater development plan and a detailed engineering design of a six-mile pipeline. NRCE established the type, size, storage, treatment, and distribution facilities, including the pump and storage requirements and pipe size necessary to meet the Pueblo’s current and future demands for domestic and commercial water uses.

The development of the Baca Well was the primary objective of this project; however, alternative water development scenarios were also reviewed and investigated. The principal information collected and assessed for groundwater development included: availability of groundwater potential; type and extent of aquifer(s); natural recharge; depth to water and documentation of existing wells; typical well yields; and groundwater quality.

A field reconnaissance was performed to verify a preliminary alignment and to identify any potential problems. The alignment alternatives were plotted on 7.5-minute USGS quad maps that were scanned for reproduction and manipulation. The criteria for selecting the preferred alignment were based on project objectives, flexibility to meet future expansion, environmental impacts, cost, engineering and operation concerns, land status, and construction difficulties.

NRCE determined the horsepower requirements of the pumps necessary to deliver water from the production well to the distribution system and identified the location and size of storage and treatment facilities. NRCE also prepared capital cost estimates for the recommended water source development plan, as well as the projected operation and maintenance costs associated with the production facility.

Hydrographic Survey Review

NRCE is reviewing the 1989 Rio San Jose Hydrographic Survey of the Acoma Indian Reservation and its revisions. The review includes interpretation of aerial photos, field verification, and GPS and aerial photo mapping of presently and historically irrigated areas. The evaluation will be to determine if the Survey and the 2001 revisions are accurate statements of the Pueblo’s federally-recognized and protected water rights in the Basin and any other water rights they may have.

Rio San Jose Water Rights Adjudication (State Engineer v. Kerr-McGee)

Acting as consultant for Acoma Pueblo, NRCE has reviewed irrigated acreage identified by United States’ in the State Engineer v. Kerr-McGee case and has provided additional acreage supplemental to the US claim. NRCE identified this additional acreage using several years of historical aerial photography and maps generated by Bureau of Indian Affairs in the early 20th century. NRCE performed an independent water requirement study based on the historical cropping pattern to determine the weighted irrigation water requirements. NRCE has also reviewed reports regarding water quantity and irrigation requirements authored by experts for the State of New Mexico and Tri-State Generation. Additionally, NRCE is estimating the current and future non-agriculture water uses on the Reservation. The information can be used in the State Engineer v. Kerr-McGee Corporation case.

Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan

NRCE is working closely with the Pueblo of Acoma water resources department to develop a comprehensive water resources management plan. The plan is to serve as a guide for future water use and planning of Acoma as well as a technical basis for many aspects of the ongoing Rio San Jose water right adjudication (State Engineer v. Kerr-McGee). The main components of this plan include: a review of technical reports and studies conducted by other parties, evaluation of existing water uses, evaluation of water and wastewater system infrastructure, incorporation of data collected as part of the Rio San Jose water right adjudication, identification of future water needs, and proposal and comparison of several alternatives to meet Acoma’s future water needs. Future water needs are primarily based upon projected population growth. Future water sources include new wells or well rehabilitation, wastewater reuse, surface water diversion, water conservation measures, and purchase of water or water rights.

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