A plan from the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities to utilize the county’s 1,200 acre-feet of San Juan-Chama water allotment by drilling one to three wells in White Rock has sparked sharp debate on the county’s Open Forum and during a Board of Public Utilities meeting in April.
BPU takes a closer look at the issue May 15.
According to DPU officials, the project ensures that the county’s San Juan-Chama water rights are protected, develops a more reliable and sustainable water supply, allows the existing groundwater aquifer to recover and provides for future growth.
Consultants CDM Smith rated this as the most economical and practical of five alternatives they evaluated. Project cost ranges between $9.4 million and $27 million, depending on the number of wells required.
Cost estimates for other feasible alternatives were between $36.5 million and $79.5 million. The $36.5 million alternative involved placing wells on San Ildefonso Pueblo lands, which poses significant right-of-way issues.
Based on the preliminary engineering report, Well Site 3--located in county open space south of Pajarito Acres–provides the greatest potential to yield the 1,200 acre-feet allotment. Fewer than a dozen homes are within 1,000 feet of the site, with the closest one approximately 450 feet away.