Funding Provided by the New Mexico Finance Authority Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund

The Buckman Direct Diversion 2A Solar Field  

The Buckman Direct Diversion 2A Solar Field


Rick Carpenter, BDD Project Manager



SANTA FE, N.M. – The Buckman Direct Diversion has installed a second solar array system, increasing the amount of total solar energy to 2.5 MW, powering 41 percent of total energy needs to treat and deliver Rio Grande surface water to Santa Fe residents.

The new 1.5 MW solar system is completely owned and operated by the BDD and provides 30 percent of the energy required to operate the pumps to push water 11 miles uphill from the Rio Grande to the water treatment plant. The solar system is located on 5 acres near the 2A Booster Station facility. The energy savings will reduce the BDD’s annual bill up to an additional $206,000 per year, bringing the total potential annual energy saving to $400,000.

The first solar system provides 1.0 MW, supplying most of the water treatment plant and finished water pumping electricity needs on sunny days. The array is located on 8-acres of BLM land adjacent to the Buckman Regional Water Treatment Plant.

“The customers we serve deserve the benefits of clean, fuel-free, renewable solar energy”, stated Joseph Maestas, BDD Board Chair and Santa Fe City Councilor. ”The BDD Board mandated several years ago that green power would be a component of providing our customers with sustainable drinking water and the BDD Board is firmly committed to energy and water efficient practices that will continue to reduce our carbon footprint and help our citizens adapt to climate change”.

The solar system cost $4.8 million to build and was funded in part by the New Mexico Finance Authority (NMFA) through the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund. Ryan Helton, NMFA senior program administrator states, “It’s refreshing to see municipalities put together a deal of this stature that will provide so many benefits to their constituents. Santa Fe has paved the way, and we hope to see other communities create these kinds of projects too.”

“The BDD board deserves recognition for being forward thinking and employing solar to power this critical facility in our community,” says Regina Wheeler, Positive Energy Solar CEO. “Now, the cost of energy for these pumps is fixed for 30 years. The price of the power is less than the BDD board was paying PNM today, and the savings will grow over time as grid electric becomes more expensive.”

“BDD is in the forefront of technology and we will continue on our green path to carry our customers and partners into the next generation,” says Liz Stefanics, BDD Vice-Chair and Santa Fe County Commissioner.

Some 4,608 high efficiency solar panels make up the new installation. The system takes up 30 percent less land, minimizing the footprint of the site. Positive Energy Solar and Bradbury Stamm Construction were selected through an RFP process to install the array.

The system will be unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony onsite, Thursday, June 19 at 3:00 pm.

About Buckman Direct Diversion Project

The Buckman Direct Diversion Project (BDD) provides a safe, reliable and sustainable source of drinking water for the City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County by improving the regional water supply under drought conditions. The BDD Buckman is recognized as a state of the art, advanced water treatment facility in the state of New Mexico awarded with the prestigious national LEED certification on exemplary energy and water efficiencies, and the Good Housekeeping Award and the Max D. Summerlot Award for demonstrating excellence in water system operations, maintenance, management, safety and professionalism. BDD was also awarded with the Design-Build Institute of American Design-Build for Innovation. For more information, please visit

About Positive Energy Solar

An employee-owned company, Positive Energy Solar is the largest certified Benefits Corporation (B Corp) in New Mexico, a distinction earned for providing good wages, benefits, and growth opportunities for team members; contributing to schools and non profits; delivering 100 percent satisfaction to its customers; and selecting products for long term performance and low environmental impact. Positive Energy Solar is New Mexico’s leading residential and commercial solar installer, and was named the SunPower® residential dealer of the year for 2013. Visit


BDD Solar Sidebar

2.5 total MW (1.0 MW and 1.5 MW arrays)

41 percent average total energy

8,688 total high efficiency solar panels

$400,000 potential annual energy bill savings

15,000,000 gallons of water saved in 25 years

26,000 tons of Co2 saved in 25 years

2.5 MW produces approximately enough energy to power 2500 homes annually

13 total solar acres

To view news release, click here: BDD Installs 2nd Landmark Solar System


Thirty-seven graduate students, plus three administrators from Texas A&M’s Water Management & Hydrological Sciences Program toured the Buckman Direct Diversion regional water treatment plant on May 15 as part of a nine city interdisciplinary experiential learning and research program lead by Dr. Ronald Kaiser and Kevin Gamache. The Buckman Direct Diversion water treatment facility was included as part of this class’s field course titled, “Bridging Hydrology, Governance, Culture and Scarcity for Effective Rio Grande Water Management”.  

TX AM Tour Bottle  

The class journeyed from College Station, Texas to begin their trek of the Rio Grande from Alamosa, Colorado, then through New Mexico towns – Pilar, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Los Lunas and Las Cruces, continuing back into Texas through El Paso, Del Rio, McAllen, Brownsville and back to College Station.  

Mr. Kevin Gamache stated BDD is an integral part of the course field study program showing the importance of surface water diversion and advanced treatment to sustain the Santa Fe area’s future drinking water resources.  

Chief Operator Gary Durrant began the tour with an overview Power Point presentation of the BDD facility and treatment processes, then continued through the facility’s main campus conventional and advanced treatment processes structures. Many questions were asked throughout the presentation regarding advanced treatment processes, in addition to questions regarding existing positions and job opportunities.  

Dr. Kaiser feels the Buckman Direct Diversion model is such a critical and necessary model for the future of all low moisture, dry desert geographic areas in the Southwest including Texas and stated that BDD will be included in all graduate study field course trips in the future. The graduate course is a 2 year program and they plan to implement this field course trip as a mandatory end program practicum requirement for future classes.  

We enjoyed having the Texas A&M students onsite and look forward to hosting future tours for this group.    

TX AM Tour Floc Sediment

  Gary Durrant explains the flocculation and sedimentation process as a grad student video documents the whole tour.  

TX AM Tour Micron Filter   Gary discusses the micron membrane filtration process and explains how the water is pushed through the membrane filters to capture particulates greater than .1 micron while being video recorded.

  TX AM Tour Ozone View 2   Students are shown Ozone treatment only through windows. Hazardous levels may exist in this area, so people are not allowed in without proper PPE gear.


Organizations who are interested in tours may contact Bernardine R. Padilla at, 505-955-4519, or Gary Durrant at, 505-955-4501.




On Saturday, February 23, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation with the help of local sponsors (TogetherGreen, Audubon New Mexico, Sierra Club, and the City of Santa Fe) organized the second voluntary and very successful clean-up event of the Buckman Bosque Restoration Project area. Approximately 30 volunteers provided their time, energy, and enthusiasm, while the sponsors of the event provided tools (gloves, trash bags, shovels, rakes, trowels), shade & chairs, beverages & lunch, portable toilet, and volunteer incentives (hats, t-shirts).


In spite of the realization of how much neglect and abuse this beautiful and inspirational area has experienced, the mood was festive and energized as glass, cans, diapers, tires, and other rubbish began to disappear, revealing the underlying integrity of the Rio Grande and its riparian forest. By 3:30 pm all the garbage in the ½ mile project area along the Rio Grande was gone and the full sized dumpster, provided by BDD, was ¾ full of some rather remarkable things including: a sofa bed, rugs, blankets, and tires. Despite the fact that the bulk of the garbage was found in the form of broken glass, we were able to recycle two full bins of unbroken bottles and ¾ of a bin of aluminum cans.


Having finished early because of the great turn out and the infectious inspiration that seemed to keep everyone motivated and working hard, many sat around in the warm afternoon sun laughing, telling stories, pointing out birds, landmarks and different hikes in the area.  There was a definite sense of satisfaction having re-claimed this beautiful place through such good intentions and hard work.


We would like to thank the volunteers and sponsors of this event for their hard work and dedication to improve the quality of the wonderful and valuable Buckman Bosque Restoration Project area!


More pictures available on the History Tab in the photo archive.



Volunteers Needed!

February 6, 2013

  Help us clean up the Buckman Bosque Restoration Project Site! Saturday, February 23, 2013 9:00am to 3:00pm We need your help to remove trash before we can replace native species, restore habitat and improve recreational opportunities at the historic Buckman town site. Many hands make light work! See link to the flyer for more details.  Volunteer flyer


Come help celebrate Public Lands Day and be part of a team to prepare a location on the banks of the Rio Grande for future ecosystem restoration. Join us on September 30, 2012, to remove trash from the Buckman Direct Diversion water project site. Many hands make light work! For more details contact Steve Cary at Audubon New Mexico: 505-983-4609 x 27 or


Millions of Americans across the country rely on caring professionals to provide safe, healthful drinking water to their communities. Citizens trust water flowing from their taps will be free of water-borne contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, and other unhealthful compounds. Water Treatment Plant Operators are true experts, committed to providing the highest quality water in communities to which they are so closely connected. As I reflect on my 30-year career in Water Utility Management, I’m convinced the Buckman Regional Water Treatment Plant Operators are among the most capable and dedicated people in the industry. In order to qualify, each individual met strict competency standards and completed a rigorous training program. The men and women at the BDD pledge to earn your trust, and are honored to play such an important role in sustaining a high quality of life in Santa Fe Communities. The Buckman Regional Water Treatment Plant guarantees the City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County enjoys a reliable, safe water supply for years to come. The community can be proud of our facility and the people entrusted to carry out this important mission. Sincerely, Robert J. Mulvey, BDD Facilities Manager Buckman Direct Diversion Staff


The BDD Board shares the public’s concern regarding raw river water that has shown to have elevated levels of contaminants including heavy metals and radionuclides in ash, ash-laden sediment and ash impacted by stormwater from burned areas of the Las Conchas Fire. The BDD Board has taken several steps to protect Santa Fe’s drinking water and ensure it is safe to drink. Vigorous test sampling and monitoring of both pre and post treatment water are on-going and rapid sampling processing by independent laboratories has been requested. Results of water quality samples taken of treated drinking water are better than Safe Drinking Water Standards. To address the public’s questions, please see our Frequently Asked Questions regarding stormwater protection. In addition, we have posted several PowerPoint presentations and summaries on stormwater monitoring and water quality monitoring after the Las Conchas fire in the Resources section.
Monitoring results have only recently been posted due to a complex website software re-design to collect and send hourly diversion flow data directly to the website for real-time public reporting. Results for all storm related events to date has been finalized and can be viewed on the Stormwater Monitoring Summary page. Monitoring results will be posted timely.
  For more data information visit:


SANTA FE—Solar generated power is supplying most of the electricity needed to operate the Buckman Regional Water Treatment Plant (BRWTP), saving $250,000 in annual energy costs. The solar electricity provides much of the BRWTP peak needs and accounts for one-third of the yearly electricity needed to pump raw water from the Rio Grande and finished treated water to City and County storage tanks.

Read Press Release »


NMED Gives Green Light to Sustainable Water Supply

January 5, 2011

TURN ON YOUR TAPS–GRADUAL INTRODUCTION OF TREATED BUCKMAN DIRECT DIVERSION WATER BEGINS—The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has given a green light for the Buckman Regional Water Treatment Plant (BRWTP) to begin production and delivery of a new source of safe, sustainable and reliable drinking water. Read Press Release >>

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