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Published December 20, 2012
New Mexico Reservoir Levels(data through 11/30/12)
Data Source(s): National Water and Climate Center
Combined water storage in the 15 New Mexican reservoirs reported here is at 18 percent of capacity and only 44 percent of average (Figure 2). Total reservoir storage did not substantially change from one month ago which is common for this time of year. Combined storage on the four reservoirs on the Pecos River stands at about 1 percent of capacity and about 14 percent of average. Elephant Butte Reservoir, on the Rio Grande, is also extremely low, measuring only 6 percent of capacity. For these reservoirs, snow in the northern New Mexican mountains and the southern Colorado Rockies this winter will be vital for boosting stocks. So far, however, winter precipitation is not off to a wet start. Between October 1 and December 18, precipitation in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado generally has been less than 70 percent of average. Despite these relatively dry conditions, the winter is just beginning and there is ample time for storms to boost snowpacks and, in turn, reservoir storage.
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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