Simulated Effects of Ground-Water Management Scenarios on the Santa Fe Group Aquifer System, Middle Rio Grande Basin, New Mexico, 2001-40

By Laura M. Bexfield and Douglas P. McAda


U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations Report 03-4040


This report is available in pdf format below.



Future conditions in the Santa Fe Group aquifer system through 2040 were simulated using the most recent revision of the U.S. Geological Survey groundwater- flow model for the Middle Rio Grande Basin. Three simulations were performed to investigate the likely effects of different scenarios of future groundwater pumping by the City of Albuquerque on the ground-water system. For simulation I, pumping was held constant at known year-2000 rates. For simulation II, pumping was increased to simulate the use of pumping to meet all projected city water demand through 2040. For simulation III, pumpingwas reduced in accordance with a plan by the City of Albuquerque to use surfacewater to meet most of the projectedwater demand. The simulations indicate that for each of the three pumping scenarios, substantial additional watertable declines would occur in some areas of the basin through 2040. However, the reduced pumping scenario of simulation III also results in water-table rise over a broad area of the city. All three scenarios indicate that the contributions of aquifer storage and river leakage to the ground-water system would change between 2000 and 2040.


Comparisons among the results for simulations I, II, and III indicate that the various pumping scenarios have substantially different effects on water-level declines in the Albuquerque area and on the contribution of each water-budget component to the total budget for the ground-water system. Between 2000 and 2040, water-level declines for continued pumping at year-2000 rates are as much as 120 feet greater than for reduced pumping; water-level declines for increased pumping to meet all projected city demand are as much as 160 feet greater. Over the same time period, reduced pumping results in retention in aquifer storage of about 1,536,000 acre-feet of ground water as compared with continued pumping at year- 2000 rates and of about 2,257,000 acre-feet as compared with increased pumping. The quantity of water retained in the Rio Grande as a result of reduced pumping and the associated decrease in induced recharge from the river is about 731,000 acre-feet as compared with continued pumping at year-2000 rates and about 872,000 acre-feet as compared with increased pumping. Reduced pumping results in slight increases in the quantity of water lost from the groundwater system to evapotranspiration and agriculturaldrain flow compared with the other pumping scenarios.




Purpose and scope

Previous investigations

Description of study area


Design of model simulations

McAda and Barroll model

Modifications and additions to the McAda and Barroll model

Simulated effects of ground-water management scenarios

Simulation I—Continued pumping at year-2000 rates

Simulation II—Increased pumping to meet all demand

Simulation III—Reduced pumping to supplement surface-water supply

Selected comparisons among simulations



For additional information write to:


District Chief

U.S. Geological Survey

Water Resources Division

5338 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Suite 400

Albuquerque, NM 87109-1311


Copies of this report can be purchased from:


U.S. Geological Survey

Information Services

Box 25286

Federal Center

Denver, CO 80225


Information regarding research and data-collection programs of the U.S. Geological Survey is available on the Internet via the World Wide Web. You may connect to the home page for the New Mexico District
Office using the URL


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