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Water Supply Forecast for January 2014

Contact: NWS - Chuck Jones (505) 244-9148
NRCS – Wayne Sleep (505) 761-4431

Coordinated Release: National Weather Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service


There was decent snowfall in the higher northern terrain of New Mexico in November. Meanwhile, December was below normal. This has produced an early season snowpack mostly below normal over the northern mountains of New Mexico. The San Juan Basin has fared the best with near normal early season snowpack.


This first water supply forecast for 2014 reflects this so-so start to the 2013-2014 snow accumulation season as well as a storm track that would intermittently target portions of northern New Mexico, although it is worth noting the storm track has pretty much alluded the state since early December.


Forecast flows for the Rio Grande include 72 percent of normal into Cochiti Lake and 59 percent at Elephant Butte Lake. Other Rio Grande Basin reservoir forecast inflows range from 67 percent of normal at El Vado Lake to 52 percent of normal at Jemez Canyon Reservoir. Inflow to Santa Rosa Lake is expected to be 63 percent of normal while in the San Juan Basin, Navajo Reservoir is expecting 95 percent of normal inflow.


Precipitation across New Mexico during December 2013 ranged from near to below normal over the north and central areas, with near to above normal over southern regions of the state. Water Year 2014 precipitation, October through December 2013, has been below to well below normal across the southern two thirds of New Mexico and the Northeast, and near to a little above normal in the Northern Mountains and Northwest Plateau.


Surveys by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service indicate that snowpack water content in the Rio Grande Basin as of January 1 was 77 percent of normal and 110 percent of one year ago. In the San Juan Basin the snowpack water content was 101 percent of normal and 150 percent of the total of January 1, 2013.


With the bulk of the snow accumulation season for the mountains yet to come, the prospects for near normal spring snow melt runoff across New Mexico will hinge on both the future storm track as well as the concern for another warm, dry and windy spring season. ENSO (El Niño–Southern Oscillation) neutral conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean are expected to persist through the 2014 spring, offering some hope for near normal conditions but little hope for above normal conditions across New Mexico through this spring. However, long range forecasts are trending toward drier (and warmer) than normal conditions, especially over western New Mexico.


The 2011 and 2012 calendar years were the driest and warmest two year period on record for New Mexico. Weather records go back to 1895. Calendar year 2012 was the warmest on record and the second driest; only 1956 was drier in New Mexico. Fortunately, 2013 was wetter, right around normal statewide precipitation.


In the Rio Grande basin, storage is 31 percent of the 30 year average and 110 percent of the storage levels from the start of 2013. In the San Juan basin, Navajo Reservoir storage is 72 percent of the 30 year normal and 101 percent of the storage of one year ago.


This water supply forecast reflects conditions as of January 1, 2014 and assumes near normal to below normal precipitation through the rest of the winter and into the spring.

SNOTEL DATA

 
SNOTEL Site January 1, 2014 - Water Content Inches 1981-2010 Median - Water Content Inches
Chamita 2.6 4.0
Red River 3.3 3.6
Cumbres Trestle 9.1 10.4
Wolf Creek Summit 11.1 14.6

NEW MEXICO WATER SUPPLY FORECAST as of January 1, 2013

Stream and Station Forecast Coordinated with NRCS 30-year Average
1981-2010
1000 AF
Forecast
Period
Forecast
1000 AF
Percent 30-year Avg.

San Juan Basin

San Juan

Navajo Reservoir Inflow

April-July 700 95 735
Los Pinos River

Vallecitos Reservoir Inflow, Colorado

April-July 205 106 194
Animas River

Durango, Colorado

April-July 420 101 415

Rio Grande Basin

Rio Grande

Del Norte (near), Colorado

Otowi Bridge, New Mexico

San Marcial, New Mexico

 

April-Sept.

March-July

March-July

 

485

515

300

 

94

72

59

 

515

720

510

Conejos River

Mogote (near), Colorado

 

April-Sept.

 

161

 

83

 

194

Rio Chama

El Vado Reservoir Inflow

Chamita (near), New Mexico

 

March-July

March-July

 

150

215

 

67

69

 

225

312

Pecos River

Pecos (near), New Mexico

Santa Rosa Reservoir Inflow

 

March-July

March-July

 

43

35

 

75

63

 

57

56

Canadian Basin

Canadian River       

Conchas Reservoir Inflow

 

March-June

 

20

 

67

 

30
(30 yr median)

 

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