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Published December 19, 2011
New Mexico Reservoir Levels(data through 11/31/11)
Data Source(s): National Water and Climate Center
The total reservoir storage in New Mexico increased by an estimated 48,000 acre-feet in November (Figure 7). This estimate does not include storage changes from Heron, El Vado, and Blue Water reservoirs. Storage in all of the state’s reservoirs reported in Figure 7 except Conchas increased during November. The largest increase occurred in Elephant Butte Reservoir, which added 241,000 acre-feet. Despite this increase, Elephant Butte storage is only about 11 percent of full capacity. Reservoirs on the Pecos River also were exceedingly low, and three of the four reservoirs (reservoir 9, 11, and 12 on Figure 7)stood at less than 5 percent of capacity.
In water-related news, a new federal study projects that demand on the Colorado River Basin, which provides water to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, will outpace supply by about 13 percent by 2035 (Journal North, December 11). While New Mexico is not yet using its full share, the risk for the state is that others may seek the unused portion as supply-demand tension grows.
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).
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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