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Published March 21, 2012
New Mexico Reservoir Levels(data through 2/29/12)
Data Source(s): National Water and Climate Center
Total reservoir storage in New Mexico increased by 16,000 acre-feet in February (Figure 7). Storage in Elephant Butte Reservoir is 367,000 acre-feet, only 17 percent of capacity, but increased by about 35,000 acre-feet in February. On the other hand, Pecos River reservoir storage decreased by 5,700 acre-feet during the last month and all reservoirs on the river have below-average storage (reservoirs 9-12).
In water-related news, Albuquerque’s daily water usage dropped below 150 gallons per person in 2011, meeting a state regulatory goal 13 years ahead of the deadline (Albuquerque Journal, March 13). In 1994, daily per capita usage was about 252 gallons. Despite population growth, 6 billion gallons were saved in comparison to consumption in 1994. Awareness campaigns, lawn removal rebates, and new house appliance standards were among the strategies used to reduce 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 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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