- About Us
- SW Climate
Published October 24, 2012
New Mexico Reservoir Levels(data through 9/30/12)
Data Source(s): National Water and Climate Center
Storage in most New Mexico reservoirs remains well below average (Figure 7). Only Navajo reservoir has water storage above 50 percent capacity. In the last month, Navajo and Heron reservoirs experienced the greatest declines, amounting to about 67,000 and 32,000 acre-feet, respectively. The combined storage in Elephant Butte and Caballo reservoirs, located on the Rio Grande in central New Mexico, declined by about 6,000 acre-feet in September. Storage in nearly all reservoirs declined since the beginning of the water year in October 2011 as a result of below-average winter precipitation in most regions. Summer monsoon rain was also scant, bypassing most of New Mexico and limiting contributions to reservoir storage. USGS monthly streamflow for New Mexico basins (not shown) indicates that September flows were mostly in the lowest 25 percent of historic flows, even for this dry time of the year.
In water-related news, a group of New Mexico farmers in the Rio Grande valley filed suit against the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy Water District for unfair cuts to their water allocations during recent drought years (Western Farm Press, October 10). The water district reduced allocations equally to all members without regard to the senior water rights of some members.
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