Albuquerque resides firmly in the middle of one of the largest deserts in the world. Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson, and Santa Fe, all share its status as major desert cities. So how do these massive cities manage to exist in the desert, a notoriously harsh and arid climate? Well it isn’t easy. Desert aquifers are one of the largest contributors to the continued existence of these fragile and precariously desert townships.
Simply put – there isn’t enough water on the surface of our desert to support the continued existence of a large popular of people. We have harvested the power and the life giving water of the great Colorado River, yet still, this isn’t enough. Lucky for us, there is a massive source of water available to us, and it is located just below out feet.
The Albuquerque Aquifer, which resides in the heart of The Middle Rio Grande Basin, is one of the largest in the world although the exact capacity of the aquifer is unknown. Albuquerque has a population of nearly 1 million individuals which makes up nearly 40 percent of New Mexico’s entire population. These people require a massive amount of water. The city of Albuquerque owns and maintains wells which reach 1,800 feet deep into the earth to draw out life giving water from the aquifer. These well are capable of pumping over 300 million gallons a day.
Although the Albuquerque Aquifer is gigantic, it isn’t endless, and it took millions of years for it to form. Our supply of water finite, and must be carefully managed. As residences of California are quickly learning, droughts can be devastating. It is important to learn good water habits and to practice conservation whenever possible. With everyone working together we can out beautiful oasis in the desert for many years to come.