New Mexico Water Science Center

Climate and Surface Processes

Every New Mexican carefully watches local weather, storms, snowfall, droughts and floods, river flows, reservoir levels, and forest fires. These climate and surface processes surround us daily and are important for citizens, wildlife, and land resources statewide.  The New Mexico Water Science Center helps local, state and federal cooperators measure, analyze, model, and understand the movement and availability of water as well as the effects of climate and human actions on our surface water resources.

Filter Total Items: 20
Date published: May 16, 2019
Status: Active

Ecohydrologic and Water Quality Data Collection at Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge and the Albuquerque South Valley Community Commons

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) New Mexico Water Science Center (NM WSC), in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA), and Bernalillo County (BERNCO), will measure and...

Contacts: Rebecca Travis
Date published: June 7, 2018
Status: Active

Hydrogeologic and geochemical characterization and evaluation of two arroyos for managed aquifer recharge by surface infiltration in the Pojoaque River Basin

In order to provide long-term storage of diverted surface water from the Rio Grande as part of the Aamodt water rights settlement, managed aquifer recharge by surface infiltration in Pojoaque River Basin arroyos was proposed as an option. The initial hydrogeologic and geochemical characterization of two arroyos located within the Pojoaque River Basin was performed in 2014 and 2015 in...

Date published: June 1, 2017
Status: Active

Simulation of Pre- and Post-Fire Streamflow in the Upper Rio Hondo Basin, NM

The 2012 Little Bear Fire burned 44,000 acres in the upper Rio Hondo Basin in south-central New Mexico. Landscape in the Basin ranges from mixed conifer forests at higher elevations (12,000 ft) to desert shrubland at lower (5,200 ft) elevations. Burned areas are at risk of substantial post-wildfire erosion and flash floods. USGS post-wildfire analysis estimated 70% of the burned area had a...

Date published: June 23, 2016
Status: Completed

USGS Data Collection: Real-Time Rain Gages for Post Conchas-Fire Flood-Early Warning System

The Las Conchas fire started on June 26, 2011, near the small community of Las Conchas in the Jemez Mountains of north-central New Mexico. When the fire was contained on August 3, 2011, it had burned 156,593 acres of mixed conifer, pinyon/juniper, and ponderosa forest. At the time, it was the largest wildfire in New Mexico history. Peak burn severity was extreme; over 60,000 acres of the total...

Date published: June 12, 2016
Status: Active

Rio Grande Transboundary Integrated Hydrologic Model: Modeling Conjunctive Use to Support Resource Management

The Palomas, Mesilla, and Conejos-Médanos Basins in New Mexico, Texas, and northern Mexico compose a geologically and hydrologically complex region. The conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater takes place under a myriad of legal and operational constraints, including the Rio Grande Compact, an international treaty, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Rio Grande Project. New demands...

Contacts: Andre Ritchie
Date published: June 4, 2016
Status: Active

Upper Rio Grande Basin Focus Area Study

The Upper Rio Grande Basin (URGB) of Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and northern Mexico was chosen as a focus area study (FAS) for the USGS National Water Census. The conjunctive use of water in the URGB takes place under a myriad of legal constraints including the Rio Grande Compact agreement between the States, an international treaty with Mexico, and several federal water projects....

Date published: June 25, 2015
Status: Active

Changes in Watershed Hydrologic Response Time with Post-wildfire Changes in Vegetation and Surface Fuels Along a Severely-burned, High-desert Canyon, Bandelier National Monument, NM

Flash flooding can be a destructive and life-threatening response of watersheds to intense rainfall events, particularly in sparsely­ vegetated, or burned watersheds. Studies have been conducted to estimate the magnitude of hydrologic responses of burned watersheds to rainfall events, however the time that it takes a flood to travel through a burned watershed and reach a critical or populated...

Contacts: Anne C Tillery
Date published: June 23, 2015
Status: Completed

Post-Wildfire Investigation: Analysis of Soil Properties Based on Burn Severity

The Las Conchas fire started on June 26, 2011, near the small community of Las Conchas in the Jemez Mountains of north-central New Mexico. When the fire was contained on August 3, 2011, it had burned 156,593 acres of mixed conifer, pinyon/juniper and ponderosa forest and at the time was the largest wildfire in New Mexico history. Peak burn severity was extreme; over 60,000 acres of the total...

Date published: June 6, 2015
Status: Active

Water Resource Assessment of the Rio San Jose Basin, West-Central New Mexico

Water resources in the Rio San Jose Basin are limited, and development for public supply, mining, agriculture, and commercial activities have the potential to affect the water availability and quality at a basin-wide scale. This study is designed to provide water-resource managers with better information to plan for potential effects of increased or shifting demands and changes of climatic...

Date published: June 5, 2015
Status: Active

Streamgaging: Silent Sentinels

Streamflow data are needed at many sites on a daily basis for forecasting flow extremes, making water-management decisions, assessing current water availability, managing water quality, and meeting legal requirements. These activities require streamflow information at a given location for a specified time. These needs generally are best satisfied by operating a station to produce a continuous...

Contacts: Mark A Gunn
Date published: June 4, 2015
Status: Active

URGWOM: Upper Rio Grande Water Operations Model

The Upper Rio Grande (URG) River Basin extends from the headwaters in Colorado to the USGS streamflow gage Rio Grande near Fort Quitman, Texas, and includes both native water and transmountain water from the Colorado River Basin. Because of surface-water allotment issues, input from various sources of water (native and transmountain), numerous reservoirs, and complex stream-aquifer relations,...

Date published: June 25, 2014
Status: Active

Debris flows and Floods from Extreme Precipitation in September 2013, Gila National Forest, NM

A record-breaking rainstorm in Glenwood, New Mexico and the surrounding areas occurred in September, 2013 leading to widespread and destructive flooding and debris flows, including watersheds burned the previous year by the Whitewater-Baldy Complex wildfire. In the area of the Whitewater-Baldy burn scar, a highway was overtopped by flash flooding on Whitewater Creek. Many side canyon...

Contacts: Anne C Tillery