I am not a smart person,but I know what love is... sorry I've just always wanted to say that... anyway, I was wondering, not being the engineering type of fella, or the type of fella that delves into the intricacies of city planning, what kind of system does Albuquerque have in place to collect rainfall and run-off water? How is it used?

If none, why not? Do the arroyos simply drain at the Rio Grande? Talk about wasting water! I was driving up Osuna yesterday and it was just flooded beyond control and I was thinking why doesn't the city have some sort of good drainage system to gather and collect all that damn water into some storage tank somewhere.

With all the griping and whining and bumper stickers about resident water use, wouldn't it be a good idea to save the water when it comes rather than just letting the desert soak it up or evaporate away.

I'm sure there is something in place, but when the rain comes down it sure is hard to tell.

Figured someone on here would know the haps....

Tags: love, rain, water

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Nope, I think it all just goes into the storm drains which then go into the arroyos, which then empty into the river. Which is why the storm drains are marked "Drains to river" to remind people not to dump their crap in there. Of course, the river water is used for irrigation, so it isn't completely wasted.
Colorado has something called First Use rules (I think that's what it's called). I don't believe it is legal in CO to harvest rain water.

It's a fine balance, granny.

@ Osuna and Pennsylvania there is a test project for using the arroyo run-off to recharge the aquifer (or some type of underground holding area). There is some signage in the area describing the project. Check it out.
yeah, it is stored in the underground aquifer!
I don't know, if you look at the diagram on the signage, it is seems as though there is a separate cavern/holding area.
It is "ponded" in a pool first, then it seeps down through the sandy arroyo. Thats beefing up the natural way of getting water to the aquifer. All of these concrete lined arroyos aren't able to accomplish that anymore.
Doing a little more research about it... I didn't know they were taking San Juan - Chama water and artificially recharging the aquifer. Very interesting.

Um, put a screen on the top (you know, like the $80 ones that I buy have on them...) ;-)
The newsletter of La Montanita Co-Op this month has a page on Harvesting Rainwater. You can pick opne up at one of the Co-Op locations or see it here (p. 5 of a .pdf file).
I don't have an answer to your question, Granjero. But I do wonder if our rainfall water wash is as contaminated with fecal material as it is elsewhere. Not that I plan to swim in the RG any time soon. Anyone know the numbers of bacterial colonies for the Rio pre-storm and post-storm runoff? (Calling John Fleck...)

Oh! I think I found an answer to my question in one of Fleck's posts. Ugh.
I'd be less concerned with poop in the water than all the chemicals and pharmaceutical residue. Think of all the oil that is likely in storm runoff...

But, if you Google "fecal coliform in Rio Grande river," you'll get a ton of information to chew on. Heh.
I figured there was a kind of water rights law, though I find the idea of legislating rain uncomfortable. The actual source of the river is fed through streams coming in from Colorado, right? So, by collecting rain that falls, we would be denying water elsewhere downstream is the idea?

I wonder how that works for communities that don't have a river running through it. Are they allowed to collect rain water for public use?

Its not as if we would be sucking it out of the river itself, just collecting the rain that falls in and around the city...
You mean like a dam or reservoir? Like Cochiti? ;)

In all seriousness, figuring out what to do with precipitation water in a big urban environment isn't a simple issue. One factor is that most man made/applied surfaces repel water, reducing or eliminating absorption into the underlying soil. This suggests to me that the runoff from (the land that) Albuquerque (now covers) into the Rio Grande might be greater now than it was before the city existed - for a given amount of precipitation. Further, capturing the difference in runoff and using it to irrigate urban plantings would provide a net-positive effect.

Then again, considering the amount of water the city harvests from the river and underlying aquifer, maybe every drop that falls on the ground should drain to the river.

I suspect a middle ground makes sense. Places where rain water can be practically collected into cisterns could collect a useful amount of water for irrigation. Irrigation of some species of plants can offer a beneficial cooling effect on temperatures and help improve soil quality.


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