SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Santa Fe has been considering changing what it does with excess water from the City’s Paseo Real Water Reclamation Facility. The plan is to use a 17-mile pipeline to pump water from the facility back into the Rio Grande. But not everyone was happy with the details.
Environmental advocates WildEarth Guardians opposed some aspects of the plan. The main concern is that the pipeline would mean reclaimed water currently flowing into the Lower Santa Fe River would instead go to the Rio Grande, potentially harming the Lower Santa Fe. But now, the City and WildEarth Guardians have reached an agreement.
“The City of Santa Fe deserves credit for working collaboratively with WildEarth Guardians to identify a path forward to help secure the City’s water supply for the future, while also protecting the important ecological, cultural, and economic values of a flowing Santa Fe River,” Daniel Timmons, the Wild Rivers Program director for WildEarth Guardians, said in a press release.
The settlement agreement requires the City to provide some water to ensure the Lower Santa Fe River is able to continues to flow. Additionally, the City will work to improve habitat conditions along the Lower Santa Fe, according to WildEarth Guardians.
“This deal is truly a win-win. The San Juan-Chama Return Flow Project is a key piece of infrastructure needed to secure the City’s long-term water supply needs, essential for the City to continue to thrive in the decades ahead,” Santa Fe Mayor Alan Weber said in a press release. “But through these negotiations, we’ve also figured out a way to protect a living, flowing Santa Fe River that is so beloved by our community.”