What We Do

The New Mexico Water Science Center (NM WSC) web portal provides direct access to current and historical USGS streamflow data, a bibliography of NM WSC reports, and much more about USGS operations in the state of New Mexico.

We operate local and statewide networks to collect high-quality data that define natural and human-induced hydrologic conditions.
We analyze hydrologic processes through investigations and research to increase understanding of important water-resource issues and to promote informed decision making.
We maintain real-time and historical data bases and publish peer-reviewed interpretive and data reports to disseminate unbiased hydrologic information.

To assure that our work is relevant and useful, we form partnerships with Federal, State, and local agencies, and other public organizations.

Funding for the New Mexico Water Science Center (NM WSC) comes from a variety of sources, including direct Federal appropriations, other Federal agencies, and a cooperative program that allows the NM WSC to partially match funding with state and local agencies.

 

Data Collection

Basic hydrologic data collection, processing, analysis, dissemination, and archiving are major parts of the NM WSC program. Streamflow data, for example, are used for flood and water-supply forecasts, planning and design, river regulation, streamflow statistics, and research investigations. Much of the data are available on a near-real-time basis by satellite telemetry. Types of data currently collected (and available via the USGS National Water Information System web interface) include:

  • Streamflow data at more than 400 sites
  • Groundwater level data at more than 8,300 wells
  • Water-quality data for more than 1,200 sites
  • Stream-sediment transport data
  • Climate data

 

Database Capabilities

Picture of a computer and water samples.
USGS data are stored and maintained in long-term, quality-assured data bases. The data bases contain data for New Mexico and the rest of the nation and are accessible to the public. The data include:

  • Streamflow, reservoir, and lake data
  • Groundwater data
  • Continuous and discrete water-quality data
  • Water-use data
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) data

 

Projects

The chief purpose of hydrologic projects is to help cooperating agencies solve water problems. For example, investigative results have been used to manage storm-water runoff, to develop groundwater management plans, and to identify areas of water-quality degradation. These investigations address many water issues:

  • Water-quantity and -quality assessments
  • Toxic substances in natural waters and biota
  • Rural and urban nonpoint pollution
  • Saltwater intrusion
  • Surface-water / groundwater interactions
  • Sediment transport and chemistry
  • Effects of climate change
  • Wetland functions and hydrology
  • Aquifer and streamflow characterizations
  • Frequency and magnitude of droughts and floods

 

Analytical Techniques

The NM WSC uses state-of-the-art as well as traditional methods that include quality assurance and quality control:

  • Watershed modeling
  • Flood and low-flow frequency analysis
  • Sediment and chemical load determination
  • Aquifer testing
  • Aquatic testing
  • Aquatic community analysis
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Acoustic doppler velocity measurements
  • Groundwater age dating
  • Surface and borehole geophysics
  • Evapotranspiration analysis
  • Groundwater recharge modeling
  • Solute-transport modeling
  • Geochemical modeling
  • Groundwater flow modeling
  • Water, sediment, and tissue analysis
  • Water-quality samples are collected and analyzed for a wide range of constituents, including major inorganics, nutrients, trace elements, dissolved gases, pesticides, isotopes, organic solvents, petrochemicals, and biological indicators.