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Published January 23, 2013
New Mexico Reservoir Volumes(data through 12/31/12)
Data Source(s): National Water and Climate Center
Combined water storage in the 15 New Mexican reservoirs reported here was about 19 percent of capacity and only 44 percent of average as of December 31 (Figure 7). Total reservoir storage did not change substantially from the previous month, which is common for this time of year. Combined storage on the four reservoirs on the Pecos River continues to stand at about 1 percent of capacity and about 17 percent of average. During December, storage in these reservoirs increased by a combined 4,000 acre-feet. Elephant Butte and Caballo reservoirs, on the Rio Grande, also are extremely low, measuring only 5 percent of capacity combined. However, the reservoirs gained about 40,000 acre-feet, because water flowing into the reservoirs was completely retained, which is typical for this time of year. Snow this winter in the mountains of northern New Mexico and the southern Colorado Rockies will be vital for boosting stock in these reservoirs. So far, however, winter precipitation is not off to a wet start. Between October 1 and January 16, precipitation in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado generally was less than 70 percent of average. Despite these below-average conditions, the winter is just beginning and there is ample time for storms to deliver copious snow and, in turn, boost reservoir storage.
The map gives a representation of current storage 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 (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 (dotted line) and the 1971–2000 reservoir average (red line).
The table details more exactly the current capacity (listed as a percent of maximum storage). Current and maximum storage 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.
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