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Published January 24, 2012
New Mexico Reservoir Levels(data through 12/31/11)
Data Source(s): National Water and Climate Center
The total reservoir storage in New Mexico increased by an estimated 47,000 acre-feet in December (Figure 7). This estimate does not include storage changes from Heron and El Vado, which did not report in December. Storage in New Mexico’s largest reservoir, Elephant Butte, increased by about 54,000 acre-feet. Despite this increase, Elephant Butte is only about 13 percent full, down from 20 percent of capacity one year ago. Storage in the Navajo Reservoir had the largest decline, losing about 16,000 acre-feet in December. Also, Pecos River Reservoir storage (reservoirs 9–12 on Figure 7) remained exceedingly low, despite modest increases in storage that totaled about 9,000 acre-feet.
The first spring streamflow forecasts (see Figure 12) suggest some rivers will experience below-average flows while others may experience above-average streamflow. For example, there is a 50 percent chance that the March–July flow in the Rio Grande will be 88 percent of average, while above-average flows are expected in the Mimbres and Pecos rivers. These forecasts are expected to become more accurate as the winter progresses.
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 Resources 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 Dubois, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
The CLIMAS Web site contains official and non-official forecasts, as well as other information. While we make every effort to verify this information, please understand that we do not warrant the accuracy of any of these materials.... Read full disclaimer