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Published April 27, 2011
New Mexico Reservoir Levels(through 3/31/11)
Data Source(s): USDA-NRCS, National Water and Climate Ctr.
The total reservoir storage in New Mexico declined by 48,100 acre-feet in March (Figure 7). Storage in Elephant Butte Reservoir on the Rio Grande decreased by 38,400 acre-feet in the last month, and is about 75,000 acre-feet less than that measured one year ago. Storage in Pecos River basin reservoirs decreased by 14,500 acre-feet in March. New Mexico’s largest reservoir, Navajo Lake on the San Juan River, lost only 1,600 acre-feet of storage in March, but now has about two percent less storage, or about 80,000 acre-feet, than one year ago.
In water-related news, Elephant Butte Irrigation District irrigators are facing reduced water deliveries this year due to low Rio Grande runoff (Albuquerque Journal, March 31). In addition, farmers in the Rincon Valley near Hatch are expecting this year’s chile crop to be impacted as a result of the reduced water allocation (Las Cruces Sun, March 28), which may result in as much as a 30 percent increase in the price of chiles.
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 Dubois, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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