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Published August 22, 2012
New Mexico Reservoir Levels(data through 7/31/12)
Data Source(s): National Water and Climate Center
New Mexico reservoirs lost 211,900 acre-feet of water in July (Figure 7). Cochiti Lake was the only New Mexico reservoir monitored by CLIMAS that increased storage during July. Elephant Butte Reservoir, located on the Rio Grande in central New Mexico, lost 89,000 acre-feet and is only 8 percent full. Lake Avalon is the only New Mexico reservoir with above-average storage. Low precipitation brought on this winter by the La Niña episode reduced runoff to streams feeding the reservoirs.
Low lake levels at the El Vado Reservoir, now at 19 percent of capacity, caused the closure of some boat ramps and campgrounds (Associated Press, August 9). In other water news, storm runoff following this year’s Little Bear fire in New Mexico’s Lincoln National Forest has left surface water near Ruidoso thick with sediment and ash (Las Cruces Sun-News, August 8). The village of Ruidoso has been forced to use only groundwater wells for its potable water supply and cut back residential 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 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.
The CLIMAS Web site contains official and non-official forecasts, as well as other information. While we make every effort to verify this information, please understand that we do not warrant the accuracy of any of these materials.... Read full disclaimer