The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority has announced a plan to recharge the aquifer beneath the Albuquerque metropolitan area. The water utility intends to drill two deep wells in the city's northeastern quarter that will be used to pump water into the aquifer, as part of a water conservation technique called "water banking." The utility would store excess water in the aquifer during the winter months when consumption is lowest and pump it back out during the summer as water demand increases. This would reduce the depletion of native water in the aquifer. The depletion of Albuquerque's aquifer has become a large concern in recent years with the discovery that the water table in some parts of the city has dropped 100 feet or more due to groundwater pumping.
The proposed aquifer recharge project is expected to cost between $3 and $5 million dollars. The project is still in its early stages and will require a formal application to the Office of the State Engineer. Additionally, concerns must be resolved about the preservation of aquifer water quality. Because water will undergo a treatment process before being pumped into the aquifer, the utility must ensure that treatment byproducts do not infiltrate and contaminate groundwater. The project proposal includes a test phase that would allow monitoring of water quality and general system performance.