The History of Albuquerque’s Municipal Water System

Picture of Albuquerque Waterworks c.1930

Albuquerque Waterworks c.1930

On Sunday, July 17, 2016 at 2:00 pm, John Shomaker, Ph.D., will present the history of Albuquerque’s municipal water system, 1880 – 1960. Come learn how our water system grew from a series of individual wells to the huge system it is today!

The railroad arrived in Albuquerque in 1880 and it wasn’t long before water wells were drilled, reservoirs built and pipes extended to homes. Sewers were not far behind although raw sewage flowed to the Rio Grande for many decades until treatment plants were built around 1920. Clyde Tingley was a figure in the decisions that went on to move the private water system into one owned by the City of Albuquerque. The rest is history! Now Albuquerque gets water from the snows of Colorado that come from the San Juan Chama project and other issues include water rights litigation and the silvery minnow.

The program will be held at the Albuquerque Museum in Old Town. Parking is free in the lot south of the Museum. Admission to the Museum and the AHS program is also free.

Photo of John ShomakerJohn W. Shomaker, Ph.D., is President and a Principal Hydrogeologist of John Shomaker & Associates, Inc., in Albuquerque. He has more than 50 years of professional experience in geological and hydrogeological studies in New Mexico and surrounding states. John holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in geology from the University of New Mexico (1963, 1965), an M.A. in the liberal arts from St. John’s College in Santa Fe (1984), and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in hydrogeology from the University of Birmingham, England (1985, 1995).  He worked as a hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey (1965-1969), and as a geologist for the (then) New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources (1969-1973), before starting the consulting firm in 1973.  Shomaker & Associates specializes in ground-water data collection and sampling, ground-water flow modeling, drilling technology and field supervision of well-drilling projects, water-supply planning, water-rights issues and expert testimony (including in interstate litigation before a U.S. Supreme Court Special Master), and environmental studies.

Drawing of Gaskill Pumping Engine

Gaskill Pumping Engine