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Published June 20, 2011
New Mexico Reservoir Levels(through 5/30/11)
Data Source(s): National Water and Climate Center
The total reservoir storage in New Mexico increased by 7,200 acre-feet in May, with most of the increases occurring in reservoirs in the northern part of the state. Pecos River Basin storage (reservoirs 9-12 in Figure 7) declined by more than 20,000 acre-feet during the last month; storage in New Mexico’s Canadian River Basin reservoirs (reservoirs 14-15) fell by about 10,000 acre-feet. Every reservoir in New Mexico, except Lake Avalon, is at a lower level than one year ago.
In water-related news, farmers, ranchers, and residents in eastern New Mexico’s Curry County are feeling the impact of this year’s drought (cnjonline.com, May 21 and June 13). Wells for some Curry County residents are drying as the drought accelerates declines in the Ogallala Aquifer. Also, the lack of precipitation is costing some farmers $10,000 to $20,000 a month to transport livestock and pump supplemental water.
Also, residents of Portales, in eastern New Mexico, are facing mandatory water restrictions (pntonline.com, June 16).
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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