The DPU produces and distributes drinking water to more than 8,000 customers at the Los Alamos townsite, White Rock
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. Although the San Juan/Chama surface water has never been used in Los Alamos, studies are currently under way to determine the feasibility of adding this source to our present supply.
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.
Fluoride. Los Alamos groundwater contians fluoride naturally. In 2009 the system average level of fluoride was .421 parts per million, as published in the 2009 Drinking Water Quality Report. Recently the Environmental Protection Agency revised their Safe Drinking Water Act advice on flouridation of water, dramatically lowering their recommended standard to the bottom of the previously recommended range. Fluoridation of public water supplies is not governed by EPA, however they do provide advice on the practice. Flouridation 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, we 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 botlled 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 rules 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 our aesthetics and quality of life.
Water Conservation. Visit our Energy and Water Conservation Page for the latest happenings. Did you know that free conservation equipment is available on request at the DPU's 311 Customer Care Center at 150 Central Park Square? 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 DPU @ lacnm.us and ask for Conservation Coordinator Christine Chavez. Also, for tips to save water when irrigating, check out the WaterWise Newsletters at upper right.
water convervation prog 06-2005