The Importance of Planning 

The City of Santa Fe understands the importance of strategically planning for our future water needs. It uses the most up-to-date science, demand projections, and climate change data to ensure that water supplies are available and sustainable for all our needs for decades to come while considering the potential impacts of climate change and population growth. 

The City of Santa Fe Water (City) and the Santa Fe County Utilities Division (County) are engaged in a science-based, community-informed planning cycle to develop long-range water resource management plans. The current planning effort began in 2020 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2026. The planning process will be evaluated, refined, and repeated every ten years or as necessary in future years. The planning process will produce long-range water resource plans for the City and County. 


Developing a Process for Planning 

In 2020, the City and County developed a public informed 5-year planning process. This process and the results from the 2020 public process are outlined below: 


Modeling for Decisions 

Santa Fe recognizes the importance of being good water stewards and is currently developing a computer model known as STEWaRDS (Systems Tool for Evaluating Water Resources Decisions and Strategies).  The STEWaRDS model allows Santa Fe to simulate how demand projections will impact water resource supplies under various climate and risk scenarios and evaluate how different adaptation management strategies will best meet the water needs of the future.   


Sustainable Growth 

In 2022, the City of Santa Fe completed demand projections to evaluate how population growth will impact future water demand.  This process informs how much water is needed to meet future water needs.  The following technical memo was developed to summarize the future demand projections that were used for this planning cycle. A Frequently Asked Questions was developed to capture the questions asked during the public information presentations. 

Reliable Supplies 

Santa Fe is currently developing Supply Projections, which will focus on how future climate scenarios impact water supplies. It is important to that we use the most current and best climate data available.   

Identifying Risks 

After demand and supply projections are completed, we can model various scenarios that could impact our water resources. These scenarios include fires in the watershed, which may make surface water unavailable for many years, and contaminated groundwater, which impacts groundwater supplies. By recognizing potential threats to our water resources, we enhance our ability to strategize and prepare for future water needs. 

Adapting for the Future 

Finally, we are able to model how our water supplies respond to various ‘adaptation strategies.’  This planning stage aims to create various water portfolios that minimize the impacts of drought, fire, and other identified risks.  Adaptation strategies are ranked by their abilities to increase sustainable water supplies, increase public welfare, and adhere to public values of water use. 

Planning for the future 

The final step in the planning process is to assemble the pieces into a long-range water plan, which will be revisited and revised every ten years.  In the case of the City, a water resource plan extending out to 2100 will be developed and can be adapted for nearer planning horizons as needed. For the County, this process will inform a 40-year water plan, long-range planning, and capital project spending prioritization. 

Additional Long-Range Water Resource Plans And Studies 

2019 Santa Fe Basin Study Update 

2017 City of Santa Fe Water Reuse Feasibility Study 

2015 Santa Fe Basin Study