The DPU produces and distributes drinking water to more than 7,000 customers at the Los Alamos townsite, White Rock, Bandelier National Monument and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Following
are some frequently requested topics of interest
concerning our local water supply.
Source of Los Alamos' Water. The water source for Los Alamos comes from groundwater pumped by twelve wells, which tap the main aquifer under the Pajarito Plateau, part of the Santa Fe formation. Our system has wellhead protection in place and we treat the water with a purification system called MIOX.
Water Rights. Total water rights available to the water production system as determined by the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer amount to 5,541.3 acre-feet/year. Additionally, Los Alamos has a contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for 1,200 acre-feet of water per year from the San Juan/Chama transmountain diversion project. The San Juan/Chama surface water has never been used in Los Alamos.
The Future of Our Water Supply. The future of our water supply is contingent on future population level, conservation measures, water rights, and risks to the supply. A comprehensive assessment, analysis and projection was completed in 2006 in the Long-Range Water Supply Plan. As of January 2015, this plan is currently being revised.
Fluoride. Los Alamos groundwater contains fluoride naturally. The amount of fluoride in Los Alamos' water is well below the Environmental Protection Agency's maximum contaminant level of 4 parts per million. In 2011 the EPA issued a New Fluoride Risk Assessment. Fluoridation of public water supplies is not governed by EPA, however they do provide advice on the practice. Fluoridation of the water supply is an independent practice implemented by some water systems in the nation. The Dept.of Public Utilities does not engage in this practice.
I "Heart" Tap Water. Why drink bottled water when taste tests demonstrate that fresh, environmentally responsible DPU tap water is just as tasty and refreshing? Several years ago, at an Earth Day Festival hosted by the Pajarito Environmental Education Association, DPU conducted an informal taste test of Los Alamos drinking water compared to Evian, Fiji and Arrowhead bottled water. Most of the taste testers were unable to distinguish our local tap water from the flavor of these top selling bottled brands. Our Quality Assessment of Tap Water v. Bottled Waters, is a comparative analysis of trace minerals in the different water samples tested. Check it out!
Water Rule W-8. Each year, during the warm months of May through September, Water Rule W-8 goes into effect. The Los Alamos Dept. of Public Utilities thanks all citizens for complying with this rule, as a general trend toward reduced irrigation water consumption has been identified in certain DPU analyses, since the rule's inception in 2006. The rule was designed as a simple way to eliminate water waste, yet foster vibrant horticulture and landscaping. Odd addresses irrigate on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Even addresses irrigate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Also, automatic shut-off nozzles are to be used on every hose. Thank you Los Alamos, and let's keep up the excellent water conservation efforts while maintaining beautiful landscapes and quality of life.
Water Conservation. Visit our Energy and Water Conservation Page for the latest happenings. Did you know that free conservation devices are available on request at the DPU's 311 Customer Care Center at 1000 Central Avenue? Faucet aerators, low flow shower heads, leak test kits and more are kept in stock. Please give us a call or an email at 311 or firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for Conservation Coordinator Christine Chavez.