Recreation on the Murray: RiverXchange Project


RiverXchange: Recreation on the Murray by Courtney


Drinking water in New Mexico

In New Mexico, 90% of residents’ drinking water comes from the ground.  In Albuquerque, this was also the case for about 300 years, but this changed in December 2008 when our drinking water treatment facility came on-line.   The hope is to reduce and ultimately eliminate the impact of long-term over-pumping of our aquifer by gradually shifting to about 70% surface water.  The remaining 30% will come from our aquifer, which we share with other communities like Rio Rancho.  


By the way, half of our RiverXchange classes are located in the adjacent town of Rio Rancho, which is a separate municipality and does not have any surface water rights.  Therefore, those residents must continue to rely 100% on drinking water that comes from our shared aquifer.  


aquifer: Pronunciation: (ak’wu-fur),
any geological formation containing or conducting ground water, especially one that supplies the water for wells, springs, etc.

 How  do you get your drinking water in Mildura? Do you have a series of treatment facilities that the water has to go through?

We have great debates about adding fluoride to the water over here; have you got fluoride added to your drinking water? If you have what do people think of this?





Water Quality

When we talk about the meaning of regulated in USA it means: controlled or governed according to rule or principle or law

In the U.S., all surface and ground water bodies are regulated not only by federal (national) water quality standards but also by state standards.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is the key federal regulating agency, and the New Mexico Environment Department is the state regulating agency here in New Mexico.  

In general, state standards are tougher than federal standards.  Each water body (e.g., river, lake, etc.) is assigned one or more particular uses.  Often there are multiple uses of a water body, and the decision as to how the water body is used is  based on factors such as location, geology, what the water is used for (e.g. drinking, boating, swimming, habitat, etc).  

 The Rio Grande has many uses and those particular uses  vary along the course of the river.  Each water body is tested regularly and must meet the state and federal standards for all the particular uses it has.

  Municipal wastewater effluent is also regulated so that the quality of the water put back into the river matches the quality of the river immediately upstream and downstream.

Do you have any water that is returned to the river? How does this happen?




As a group, the 19 western states of United States handle surface water very differently than the rest of the states because surface water is a scarce resource in this large geographic region.  In fact, New Mexico has the least percentage of surface water (2%) of all 50 U.S. states. 

Water quantity regulation exists within states as well as among states.  This is because some rivers (and their tributaries) cross state or international boundaries like the Murray does in Australia.

For example, the Rio Grande begins in Colorado, passes through New Mexico and Texas (borders Mexico) before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico.  This is the case for the Colorado River and other western rivers.  There are interstate stream laws and international water laws that spell out how much water each state can have from the same river.

 I think I have it right?  The source of the Murray River starts in New South Wales, is a natural border between Victoria and New South Wales and crosses interstate into South Australia and goes out to the sea at Goolwa, South Australia.

Do you have any rules or laws that say how much water can be taken from the Murray River in the different states of Australia?



USA: New Mexico state for the RiverXchange Project

Rio Grande River USA

Rio Grande River USA

Check out New Mexico state and where the Rio Grande starts in the mountains and then meets the sea.

Click on the maps to make them bigger so you can find New Mexico and the Rio Grande River.


Fun at the river…

I have enjoyed skiing on the river for many years.  I also enjoy fishing, swimming and playing with my brother and cousins in the water.

My last experience was houseboating on the Murray River for my Mum’s birthday. She was very surprised and we went to the Gol Gol Pub, and Trentham Estate Winery.

When we pulled into the bank, we had to moor the boat so it did not float away!

Holidaying on a houseboat is great fun!


Murray River

An experience I have had in the Murray River is when ……..                            

My cousins and I were in the doughnut and it tipped. We screamed but it was very, very good fun at the same time !

I am also interested in what you do in the Rio Grande that’s like my experience ?


On a Houseboat!

Last holidays we went on a houseboat on the MURKY, brown Murray River.

This is a sort of luxury cabin on a huge pontoon. I spent 4 nights on a houseboat last year. We went water skiing behind my speedboat during the day. I went: skiing, kneeboarding and wakeboarding. My cousin and I had a splash fight on the kneeboard. He won. Other fun things you can go on behind a speedboat are:

Pancakes, biscuits, hot dogs and donuts.

Then we had snags on the BBQ and went to bed. That was the best 4 days of my life! 



I go to the Murriumbidgee River with my family and cousins for Easter. It is fun because we all go canoeing and we also do Survival Challenges.  It is better because I am in charge of  the challenges. Other things we do at the River are bike rides on the dirt roads and we also bury each other in the sand and all the dads sometimes go fishing or they catch shrimps.


Survival Challenges: This means where you do challenges like: who can dig the biggest hole, who can make the best sculpture in the sand, bike races and there’s one game where you wear a blindfold on your eyes and there’s another person guiding you where you have to go to pass the finish line.



MWPS has the opportunity to be pen pals with a school in America so we can find out more about water globally. There will be lots of different terminology for us to learn: such as in America catchments are called watersheds.

We are looking forward to this project.