New Mexico Water Science Center

Water Sustainability

In New Mexico, water for residential, business, industry, agriculture, energy production, mining and recreation come from surface water (rivers and lakes) and groundwater (aquifers). The New Mexico Water Science Center collects hydrologic and water quality data and conducts studies to understand impacts to water quality, how much water is currently available, how surface water and groundwater interact and affect availability, the rate at which we are using our water resources, and to forecast how much water will be available in the future.

Filter Total Items: 19
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: May 16, 2019
Status: Active

Nitrate Contamination in the Albuquerque Basin

Globally, nitrate is the most ubiquitous groundwater contaminate including within the Albuquerque Basin in New Mexico. Ingesting high concentrations of nitrate (> 10 mg/L as N) in drinking water can lead to an increased risk of cancer and in infants, methemoglobinemia. Historical groundwater sampling in Albuquerque and Kirtland Air Force Base have found high (> 10 mg/L as N) and sometime...

Date published: June 18, 2018
Status: Active

New Mexico Water Science Center Sediment Field Program

Sediment is fragmental material transported by, suspended in, or deposited by water or air, or accumulated in beds by other natural agents. Sediment particles range in size from large boulders to colloidal-size fragments and vary in shape from rounded to angular. They also vary in mineral composition and specific gravity. Sediment is derived from a parent material subjected to erosional...

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: May 24, 2017
Status: Active

Assessment of Hydrologic Resources and the Potential Effects from Oil and Gas Development in the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Tri-County Planning Area, Sierra, Doña Ana, and Otero Counties, New Mexico

The Tri-County Resource Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (RMP/EIS) “decision area” (the public lands and resources that are managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Sierra, Doña Ana, and Otero Counties) is a large (4,375 square miles) and varied landscape. The decision area contains both connected and closed surface-water and groundwater basins, some of which cross state and...

Date published: June 28, 2016
Status: Active

Urban Storm-Water Program in the Albuquerque Metropolitan Area

As part of the surface-water drainage system of the Albuquerque metropolitan area, numerous ephemeral channels collect and transport surface water through the urban area and, eventually, into the Rio Grande.

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....

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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,...

Contacts: For contact information, please reach out to:
Date published: March 12, 2015
Status: Active

Monitoring Network of the Groundwater Flow System and Stream-Aquifer Relations in the Mesilla Basin, Doña Ana County, New Mexico and El Paso County, Texas

The Mesilla Basin monitoring program was established in 1987 to document the hydrologic conditions of New Mexico’s southern-most, Rio Grande rift basin. The program’s data collection and reporting is conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with local, state, and federal agencies. Hydrologic data collected as part of the monitoring program provide valuable information to better...