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Scientific Investigations Report 2009–5204

Prepared in cooperation with the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer

Groundwater Resources of the East Mountain Area, Bernalillo, Sandoval, Santa Fe, and Torrance Counties, New Mexico, 2005

By James R. Bartolino, Scott K. Anderholm, and Nathan C. Myers

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The groundwater resources of about 400 square miles of the East Mountain area of Bernalillo, Sandoval, Santa Fe, and Torrance Counties in central New Mexico were evaluated by using groundwater levels and water-quality analyses, and updated geologic mapping. Substantial development in the study area (population increased by 11,000, or 50 percent, from 1990 through 2000) has raised concerns about the effects of growth on water resources. The last comprehensive examination of the water resources of the study area was done in 1980—this study examines a slightly different area and incorporates data collected in the intervening 25 years.

The East Mountain area is geologically and hydrologically complex–in addition to the geologic units, such features as the Sandia Mountains, Tijeras and Gutierrez Faults, Tijeras syncline and anticline, and the Estancia Basin affect the movement, availability, and water quality of the groundwater system.

The stratigraphic units were separated into eight hydrostratigraphic units, each having distinct hydraulic and chemical properties. Overall, the major hydrostratigraphic units are the Madera-Sandia and Abo-Yeso; however, other units are the primary source of supply in some areas.

Despite the eight previously defined hydrostratigraphic units, water-level contours were drawn on the generalized regional potentiometric map assuming all hydrostratigraphic units are connected and function as a single aquifer system. Groundwater originates as infiltration of precipitation in upland areas (Sandia, Manzano, and Manzanita Mountains, and the Ortiz Porphyry Belt) and moves downgradient into the Tijeras Graben, Tijeras Canyon, San Pedro synclinorium, and the Hagan, Estancia, and Española Basins.

The study area was divided into eight groundwater areas defined on the basis of geologic, hydrologic, and geochemical information-Tijeras Canyon, Cedar Crest, Tijeras Graben, Estancia Basin, San Pedro Creek, Ortiz Porphyry Belt, Hagan Basin, and Upper Sandia Mountains.

View report for unabridged abstract.

Revised April 13, 2011

First posted October 26, 2010

For additional information contact:

Director, New Mexico Water Science Center
5338 Montgomery Blvd., NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109-1311

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Bartolino, J.R., Anderholm, S.K., and Myers, N.C., 2010, Groundwater resources of the East Mountain area, Bernalillo, Sandoval, Santa Fe, and Torrance Counties, New Mexico, 2005: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009–5204, 88 p.




Hydrologic Setting

Groundwater Resources


Selected References

Appendix 1. Description of Map Units

Appendix 2. Selected Data for Wells and Springs in and Adjacent to the East Mountain Study Area

Appendix 3. Selected Groundwater-Quality Data for Wells and Springs in the East Mountain Study Area

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