| Water Resource Management Plan
Under directives from the City Council and Utilities Commission, Utilities is charged with the development of the City’s Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP). The WRMP Technical Team, made up of City staff and consultants, recruited a diverse 26-member group of volunteer citizens to form the Water Resources Management Plan Steering Committee.
City Takes Action With Citizen Involvement
During 2002-2003, the Water Resources Management Plan Commission collected community input and developed a long-term plan for the management of water resources in the City of Rio Rancho.
The Committee recognizes that community education and public participation continue to play a vital role in Rio Rancho's future growth.
To conserve today to preserve tomorrow, the Committee developed goals, refined and evaluated options, proposed actions and made recommendations to guide the Rio Rancho Utility Commission in long-term water resource management.
The recommendations address strategies, policies, regulations and standards that will shape the City’s water future.
Rio Rancho's Water Future: Facts & Figures
Rio Rancho, one of the most desirable and affordable communities in New Mexico, is one of the fastest growing communities in the state. When the City incorporated in 1981, Rio Rancho was a town of 10,000 people, growing to 34,000 by 1990 and 52,000 in 2000. Rio Rancho’s population has doubled since 1985 and is forecast to double again by 2020.
With a 420% increase in just 20 years, Rio Rancho is noted as one of the fastest growing cities in the Southwest. Current growth projections suggest a 6% increase per year. Because our water supply is finite, the City is engaged in finding ways that will allow Rio Rancho to continue to grow at sustainable rates.
Rio Rancho enjoys one of the mildest, high-desert climates in the country. But since we’re in a semi-arid desert, water is limited. Typical years bring about 10 inches of precipitation.
Growing Water Demands and Conservation
Annual water production has been relatively steady since 1998: ranging from 3.355 billion gallons (BG) to 3.536 BG and averaging 3.468 BG.
During the same five-year period, there has been a substantial increase in the number of water accounts: ranging from nearly 17,300 in 1998 to 20,200 in 2002.
In other words, while pumping rates have been fairly steady, the number of accounts being served has had a 17% increase. Water use is projected to reach 10.3 BG/year by 2040.
However, with continued water conservation participation by Rio Rancho residents, water use could be about 9.4 BG/year.
Water usage could exceed current permitted supply by 2030 without additional water rights acquisitions. We must work now to acquire, provide, finance, reuse and conserve our valuable water resources.
Currently, the City’s water rights permit is sufficient to meet current and near-term demand. Because of projected growth rates, however, the City must acquire new water rights. The costs to meet Rio Rancho’s water supply demands are significant:
- Future acquisition for 24,000 acre-feet of water rights to satisfy the old permit and new permit requirements and beyond;
- Future acquisition for wells, water storage and pumping; and
- Acquisition for water treatment of arsenic.