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Published August 25, 2010
New Mexico Reservoir Levels(through 7/31/10)
Data Source(s): USDA-NRCS, National Water and Climate Center
The total reservoir storage in New Mexico decreased by about 207,000 acre-feet in July (Figure 7). Storage in the two largest New Mexico reservoirs—Navajo and Elephant Butte—decreased by nearly 160,000 acre-feet. While Navajo reservoir storage stands at about 87 percent of capacity, Elephant Butte is hovering around 20 percent. The largest change in storage capacity from one year ago has been in Santa Rosa and Conchas, where water levels have risen 77 and 65 percent above last year’s July totals, respectively.
In water related news, Santa Fe city officials are considering saving additional water for homes and businesses or releasing it into the Santa Fe River (Santa Fe New Mexican, August 2). The trade off is between saving more reservoir water, which decreases city costs for pumping groundwater from wells, and letting water flow in the river to enrich the ecosystem and provide recreational value. Winter rains boosted to river flows, but the prospect of a dry winter is fueling the debate.
The map gives a representation of current storage levels for reservoirs in New Mexico. Reservoir locations are numbered within the blue circles on the map, corresponding to the reservoirs listed in the table. The cup next to each reservoir shows the current storage level (blue fill) as a percent of total capacity. Note that while the size of each cup varies with the size of the reservoir, these are representational and not to scale. Each cup also represents last year’s storage level (dotted line) and the 1971–2000 reservoir average (red line).
The table details more exactly the current capacity level (listed as a percent of maximum storage). Current and maximum storage levels are given in thousands of acre-feet for each reservoir. One acre-foot is the volume of water sufficient to cover an acre of land to a depth of 1 foot (approximately 325,851 gallons). On average, 1 acre-foot of water is enough to meet the demands of 4 people for a year. The last column of the table list an increase or decrease in storage since last month. A line indicates no change.
These data are based on reservoir reports updated monthly by the National Water and Climate Center of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). For additional information, contact Wayne Sleep, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Portions of the information provided in this figure can be accessed at the NRCS website:
Southwest Climate Outlook Staff
- Michael Crimmins, UA Extension Specialist
- Stephanie Doster, Institute of the Environment Editor
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, Managing Editor, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Dollin, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
- Dave Dubious, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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