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This list of New Mexico Water Science Center publications spans from 1961 to the present. It includes both official USGS publications and journal articles authored by our scientists.

Filter Total Items: 331

Assessing Escherichia coli and microbial source tracking markers in the Rio Grande in the South Valley, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2020–21

The Rio Grande, in southern Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a Clean Water Act Section 303(d) Category 5 impaired reach for Escherichia coli (E. coli). The reach is 5 miles in length, extending from Tijeras Arroyo south to the Isleta Pueblo boundary. An evaluation of E. coli and microbial source tracking markers (human-, canine-, and waterfowl-specific sources) was conducted by the U.S. Geological Surv

Advances in transboundary aquifer assessment

This Special Issue is intended to highlight both recent work to advance the physical understanding of transboundary aquifers and factors relevant in successful collaboration on transboundary groundwater resource use. The collected papers address: (1) the identification and prioritization of the needs and strategies for sustainable groundwater development and use, along with the complexities introd

A call for strategic water-quality monitoring to advance assessment and prediction of wildfire impacts on water supplies

Wildfires pose a risk to water supplies in the western U.S. and many other parts of the world, due to the potential for degradation of water quality. However, a lack of adequate data hinders prediction and assessment of post-wildfire impacts and recovery. The dearth of such data is related to lack of funding for monitoring extreme events and the challenge of measuring the outsized hydrologic and e

Modeling post-wildfire hydrologic response: Review and future directions for applications of physically based distributed simulation

Wildfire is a growing concern as climate shifts. The hydrologic effects of wildfire, which include elevated hazards and changes in water quantity and quality, are increasingly assessed using numerical models. Post-wildfire application of physically based distributed models provides unique insight into the underlying processes that affect water resources after wildfire. This work reviews and synthe

High resolution SnowModel simulations reveal future elevation-dependent snow loss and earlier, flashier surface water input for the Upper Colorado River Basin

Continued climate warming is reducing seasonal snowpacks in the western United States, where >50% of historical water supplies were snowmelt-derived. In the Upper Colorado River Basin, declining snow water equivalent (SWE) and altered surface water input (SWI, rainfall and snowmelt available to enter the soil) timing and magnitude affect streamflow generation and water availability. To adapt effec

Determining seasonal recharge, storage changes, and specific yield using repeat microgravity and water-level measurements in the Mesilla Basin alluvial aquifer, New Mexico, 2016–2018

Increasing water demand and multi-year drought conditions within the Mesilla/Conejos-Médanos Basin near the New Mexico-Texas- Chihuahua border have resulted in diminished surface-water supplies and increased groundwater withdrawals. To better understand recharge to the shallow aquifer, the spatial and temporal groundwater storage changes, and the variability of specific yield (Sy) in the aquifer,

Landscape change, fire and erosion

New Mexico has a dynamic landscape, which will become even more so in response to climate change over the next 50 years, in part because of increasing incidence of wildfire. As the climate changes to warmer conditions, less rainfall will infiltrate into aquifers, leading to increased overland runoff. Landform processes can be complex, but in general, the predicted changes in climate and precipit


Soils play a strong role in determining how New Mexico’s diverse landscapes will respond to climate change. Soil cover acts like a sponge, holding in water that falls as rain or snow. The presence of soil supports vegetation, and substantially reduces runoff and erosion. Soil enhances other processes such as infiltration of water and aquifer recharge. Soils can be damaged by a warming climate. Los

Suspended-sediment transport and water management, Jemez Canyon Dam, New Mexico, 1948–2018

Construction and operation of dams provide sources of clean drinking water, support large-scale irrigation, generate hydroelectricity, control floods, and improve river navigation. Yet these benefits are not without cost. Dams affect the natural flow regime, downstream sediment fluxes, and riverine and riparian ecosystems. The Jemez Canyon Dam in New Mexico was constructed in 1953 by the U.S. Army

Quality of groundwater used for public supply in the continental United States: A comprehensive assessment

The presence of contaminants in a source water can constrain its suitability for drinking. The quality of groundwater used for public supply was assessed in 25 principal aquifers (PAs) that account for 84% of groundwater pumped for public supply in the U.S. (89.6 million people on a proportional basis). Each PA was sampled across its lateral extent using an equal-area grid, typically with 60 wells

Postfire debris flow hazards—Tips to keep you safe

Often referred to as “mudflows,” debris flows are a type of landslide made up of a rapidly moving mixture of dirt, rocks, trees, and water (and sometimes ash) that start on a hillside and travel downvalley. They can easily overflow channels and severely damage houses, vehicles, or other structures. Areas burned by wildfires are especially susceptible to these hazards, which can be triggered by sto

Discovering hidden geothermal signatures using non-negative matrix factorization with customized k-means clustering

Discovery of hidden geothermal resources is challenging. It requires the mining of large datasets with diverse data attributes representing subsurface hydrogeological and geothermal conditions. The commonly used play fairway analysis approach typically incorporates subject-matter expertise to analyze regional data to estimate geothermal characteristics and favorability. We demonstrate an alternati