Welcome to the City of Albuquerque

33.2 Drinking Water Compliance

This indicator shows the number of days per year (as a percentage) Albuquerque/Bernalillo County was in full compliance with USEPA drinking water regulations.

This indicator is part of Safe air, land, and water.

Indicator description:

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) administers the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. It mandates compliance standards for public water systems in the US, establishing maximum contaminant levels. Drinking water that meets USEPA’s health-based standards is safe. The indicator shows the number of days per year (as a percentage) Albuquerque/Bernalillo County was in full compliance with USEPA safe drinking water regulations. In addition to testing for compliance with USEPA drinking water standards, the ABCWUA water quality monitoring program performs additional monitoring to assure high quality standards, testing more than 500 samples. In 2007, over 6,700 samples were collected and analyzed. Since the water supply is currently taken from wells, contaminants are primarily from erosion of volcanic deposits and decay of natural deposits.

Drinking Water Compliance Rate                                  Albuquerque / Bernalillo County

2009 2010 2011 2012
Number of days in Full Compliance 100% 100% 100% 100%
Benchmark Utilities Year Top    Quartile Median Bottom Quartile
Combined Water/Sewer Utilities 2012 100% 100% 100%
Utilities with population > 500,000 2012 100% 100% 100%
Utilities located in the western US 2012 100% 100% 100%

Why is this indicator relevant?

Healthy communities require good quality drinking water. Infants, some elderly, people with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, and others with weakened immune systems are likely to be at risk to certain contaminants that can be found in drinking water. The annual Water Quality Report for Albuquerque/Bernalillo County provides residents with information for making decisions about their drinking water educating the customer about the sources and delivery methods of Albuquerque/Bernalillo County drinking water, and about the importance of source water protection. This report is also intended to be a tool to enhance the dialogue between customers and the water utility. If a violation occurs and the ABCWUA is not achieving drinking water quality standards, the public is informed through one of several means - newspaper, television or radio - depending on the seriousness of the problem, and the ABCWUA can be subject to fines. Violations can result in the public paying higher water rates to raise additional capital to improve water filtration.

A survey of water utility customers conducted in October 2007 by RKS Research and Consulting showed that 65% of Albuquerque water customers believe their water utility is doing the right amount of work to make water clean and safe. Seventy-three percent (73%) of these customers report using some water filtration (refrigerator water and ice cube filters, kitchen sink tap filters, whole home water conditioning systems) in the home. However, only 9% cite the issue of safety as the main reason for not choosing tap water, compared to a main reason of 54% for convenience and 26% for taste.

Data Sources:
Environmental Protection Agency; Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA); RKS Research & Consulting.

What can we tell from the data?

  • Since the USEPA Safe Drinking Water Act was passed in 1974, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County have met all federal and state drinking water quality standards.
  • Albuquerque's compliance rate of 100% is equal to regional communities’ utilities and nationally for those cities with populations over 500,000.


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