SANTA FE — City government has a plan to get the most out of the roughly 5,000 acre feet of water it is allocated through the San Juan-Chama Project by building a $20 million pipeline from to the city’s south-side wastewater treatment plant to the Buckman Direct Diversion on the Rio Grande.
“This is what I call the low hanging fruit,” Jesse Roach, the city’s water division director, said of what is being called the Buckman Return on Tuesday during the first of two community input meetings scheduled for this week at the Fogelson Library on the former campus of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. “It’s the next-best source of water for our community.”
But the plan also would reduce flows for communities south of town who now depend on effluent from the wastewater treatment plant to provide downstream flows in the Santa Fe River that reach La Cienega and the Cochiti area.
The city already has four water sources: the Rio Grande, two reservoirs in the Sangre de Cristo foothills, the Buckman wells outside the city limits and wells in town. But a 2015 study warned that the city’s water sources are susceptible to long-term drought, the effects of climate change, wildfires and contamination.