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Hydrology Section

Learn about the Hydrology Section for the Planning Department.

What We Do

Hydrology is responsible for determining the storm drainage requirements for development projects in the City of Albuquerque and is the official FEMA flood plain administrator for the City of Albuquerque.

How We Serve You

Hydrology can assist you with the following subjects as they pertain to storm drainage:

  • Development Review Board submissions to determine if drainage infrastructure or easements are required
  • Construction plans as part of the Design Review Committee process
  • Environmental Planning Commission submissions
  • Grading and drainage plans for building permits, paving permits and grading permits
  • Permit sets for both commercial and residential sites
  • Flood zone information

About: Flood Hazard & Drainage Control Ordinance

We issue permits pursuant to the "Flood Hazard and Drainage Control Ordinance" (Chapter 14 Article 5) and City Council Bill C/S 0-18-2 (amending Chapter 14, Article 5, Part 2).

View Flood Hazard and Drainage Control Ordinance.

View City Council Bill C/S 0-18-2.

A permit is required for all new development and redevelopment involving more than 500 CY of earthwork, 1000 SF Building, and/or 10,000 SF of Paving (14-5-2-12).

Grading and Drainage Plans and Reports should be submitted to the Hydrology section of the Planning Department using a Drainage Transportation Information Sheet Electronic form and the Submittal Process.

Detailed technical criteria for Grading and Drainage Plans and Reports is contained in the Development Process Manual, DPM, Chapter 22.

View Development Process Manual (DPM), Chapter 22.

The DPM is currently being revised and a draft Development Process Manual (DPM), Chapter 6 (Drainage, Flood Control and Erosion Control) is provided below for your review. If you find any errors, please let us know.

View draft Development Process Manual (DPM), Chapter 6.

Drainage Fees

Drainage Fees are provided below. The fees are based on the type of development and if it is a first submittal or a resubmittal. Subdivisions are also based on the number of lots.  For the more common commercial development, the main factor is if it has infrastructure improvements (work within the public right-of-way) like road improvements, sidewalks, public water, public sanitary sewer, or public storm sewer or not.  If it does have infrastructure then it is a DRB Site and if not then it is an Admin Site.

One caveat to the fee schedule pertains to resubmittals of subdivision release of financial guarantee (ROFG). This fee may be waived for minor comments but will be handled on a case by case basis.

View other Drainage Fees.

Drainage Records

Public access to city drainage records is available through the Advanced Map Viewer.

How to: Use the Advanced Map Viewer

  1. Open the viewer
  2. Under the Albuquerque Layers, turn off the “Planning Layers”.
  3. Under the Albuquerque Layers, click on the “+” sign on the “Sites”.
  4. At the bottom of the layers under the heading "Sites", turn on the "Hydrology and Transportation" layer.
  5. Select the site you are interested in.
  6. Next select the “Link to Project Documents” for the associated drainage and transportation files.
  7. Click “Yes” on the popup titled, “Potentially Untrusted Content Encountered”.
  8. All documents are within the folders.  You can download the files that you need.
  9. There is a readme file which explains the file naming conventions Hydrology uses along with Drainage Master Plans and SADs in the Parent Directory.

Drainage Covenants

Drainage Covenants for privately maintained drainage facilities are required for all new developments in accordance with "DPM Chapter 17 Section 1 Drainage Covenants."

A separate document must grant or dedicate a Permanent Easement or Right of Way and the Agreement and Covenant is required if "Public Drainage" is involved or if constructing private drainage facilities in a public right of way. A separate covenant document may be avoided by placing the Plat Drainage Easement note on the subdivision plat if one is required for the project. An SO-19 Permit is required for connection of private drainage within the public right of way and must be applied for by submitting a Grading and Drainage Plan to Hydrology with the standard SO-19 notes on it.

AHYMO (An Arid-lands HYdrologic MOdel) Computer Program

Below is a link to download a zip file of the computer program.  Also a bookmarked User Manual is also provided.

NOAA Atlas 2 precipitation depths should be used with AHYMO-97 and NOAA Atlas 14 precipitation depths should be used with AHYMO-S4 (see AHYMO AppNote-01). Atlas 14, 1 hour precipitation depths are 10 to 15% less than Atlas 2 depths but the flow rates are nearly the same.

Atlas 2 depths are available only in the DPM, and Atlas 14 depths are available from NOAA's web site https://hdsc.nws.noaa.gov/hdsc/pfds/.

FEMA Flood Plain Information

For more details on the FEMA Flood Plain and special hazard areas in the City, click here.

Contact Us

For all Hydrology questions and concerns, call the Section Manager (City Hydrologist) at (505) 924-3986.

For drainage reviews, DRB, administrative amendments, DRC and general engineering questions, call one of the Senior Engineers at (505) 924-3695 or (505) 924-3995.  

For drainage complaints, flood plain permits or floodplain questions, call the Engineer Assistant/Floodplain Manager at (505) 924-3977.