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Published July 25, 2011
New Mexico Reservoir Levels(data through 6/30/11)
Data Source(s): National Water and Climate Center
The total reservoir storage in New Mexico declined by only 3,400 acre-feet in June (Figure 7). While there were substantial increases in storage in reservoirs in northwestern New Mexico, including Navajo, Heron, and El Vado, decreases occurred in most other reservoirs in the state. In June, storage in Elephant Butte Reservoir decreased by more than 183,000 acre-feet, a reduction of about 10 percent of its capacity. This brings the state’s largest reservoir to its lowest level since July 2006. Elsewhere, storage in reservoirs in the Pecos River Basin decreased by 31,400 acre-feet in June. Compared to one year ago, storage is lowest in all of the 15 reservoirs monitored here.
In water-related news, irrigators in the Elephant Butte irrigation district are experiencing the shortest irrigation season on record (Associated Press, July 13). Farmers in the Hatch, Rincon, and Mesilla valleys have been allocated a scant 4 inches of water per acre this year. In the Carlsbad irrigation district, irrigators have been depending on groundwater pumping since March to augment anemic Pecos River flows. Also, Portales imposed mandatory water restrictions in July (KOB Eyewitness News 4, July 5). The restrictions are expected to remain in place throughout the summer and will limit outdoor water use.
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
- Dan Ferguson, CLIMAS Program Director
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Gigi Owen, CLIMAS Assistant Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Swetish, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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