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An appraisal of potential water salvage in the Lake McMillan Delta area, Eddy County, New Mexico

January 1, 1974

The Lake McMillan delta area is located between Artesia and Lake McMillan on the Pecos River in Eddy County, N. Mex. Alluvium, which is more than 200 feet thick in places, is the principal water-bearing formation and is part of the 'shallow aquifer' of the Roswell basin. Recharge to the shallow aquifer is by infiltration from the Pecos River, by irrigation water, by precipitation, and by ground water that moves into the area. Discharge from the shallow aquifer is by wells, by transpiration from phreatophytes, and by evaporation from swampy areas.

Saltcedar growth in the area increased during the study period from about 13,700 acres in 1952 to about 17,100 acres in 1960, a 25-percent increase. Most of this increase was in the areal-density range of zero to 30 percent. The estimated average transpiration of phreatophytes in the Artesia to Lake McMillan reach is about 29,000 acre-feet of water per year from ground-water sources.

In the reach from Artesia to the Rio Pefiasco, where the regional water table is above the Pecos River, saltcedar eradication might salvage from 10,000 to 20,000 acre-feet of water per year for use downstream. From the Rio Pefiasco to Lake McMillan the river is perched above the water table; therefore, elimination of the saltcedar probably would not increase flow in the river, nor would drains be effective. Clearing in this reach, however, might increase the flow at Major Johnson Springs below Lake McMillan. Floodways through this reach would eliminate some evapotranspiration but might increase the amount of sediment deposited by floodwaters in bake McMillan.

Publication Year 1974
Title An appraisal of potential water salvage in the Lake McMillan Delta area, Eddy County, New Mexico
DOI 10.3133/wsp2029E
Authors Edward Riley Cox, John S. Havens
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water Supply Paper
Series Number 2029
Index ID wsp2029E
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse