Water Authority utilizes sandbags in Albuquerque arroyo project

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. –The Bear Creek Canyon Arroyo Del Oso may be a beautiful view on your walk or bike ride, but it’s actually so much more than that. 

“This is really important water to Albuquerque, so this is not just any water this is San Juan Chama Colorado surface water,” said Water Authority Project Manager of the arroyo, Diane Agnew. “This is our one of our aquifer storage and recovery projects. It’s a key part of our water management strategy that provides an alternate supply that we can provide our customers during drought.”

The permanent sandbags and step design lets water pond and sink into the ground.

“We put it down into the arroyo taking advantage of nature’s engineering, where it will go through the soil and get down to the groundwater, eventually creating a groundwater reserve or like a savings account of water that we can then pull out when we need it,” said Agnew.

That “savings account” of water is a crucial supply for the metro.

“We’ve stored around 1,700 acre feet of water. That’s about a third of what we use on the north side of Albuquerque for irrigation, pretty good, large amount,” Agnew said.

The water takes six weeks to get to groundwater, which is pretty fast. The entire stretch of the project is 3,000 feet.

So the next time you see water rushing through the sandbags, you’ll know that water is right where it’s supposed to be.

“This is really key in our 100-year water management strategy to meet demand into the future,” said Agnew.