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Water Supply Forecast for April 2014

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

 

Coordinated Release: National Weather Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service

Decent snowfall in the higher northern terrain of New Mexico in November gave way to a below normal December, much below normal to non-existent January precipitation and mostly below normal February. March showed some improvement, but overall statewide precipitation was around 70 percent normal. This has produced a below normal to non-existent snowpack over New Mexico as we near the end of the 2013-2014 snowpack season.


This water supply forecast reflects the overall poor snowpack as well as a storm track that would only intermittently target portions of northern New Mexico.


Forecast flows for the Rio Grande include 32 percent of normal into Cochiti Lake and only 8 percent into Elephant Butte Lake. Other Rio Grande Basin reservoir forecast inflows include 28 percent of normal at El Vado Lake and just 16 percent of normal at Jemez Canyon Reservoir. Inflow to Santa Rosa Lake is expected to be 27 percent of normal while in the San Juan Basin, the Navajo Reservoir is expecting 70 percent of normal inflow.


Precipitation across New Mexico during March 2014 ranged from mostly above normal in the northwest and south, to near and below normal elsewhere. Water Year 2014 precipitation, October 2013 through March 2014, has also been below normal.


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 April 1 was 42 percent of the median and 75 percent of one year ago. In the San Juan Basin the snowpack water content was 84 percent of the median and 105 percent of the total of April 1, 2013.


This is the fourth winter in a row with disappointing mountain snowpack and statewide precipitation across New Mexico. ENSO (El Niño–Southern Oscillation) neutral conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean are still expected to persist through the 2014 spring. Offering some hope is the potential for El Nino conditions to develop this fall. Long range forecasts for the remainder of the spring continue to trend toward warmer than normal conditions, while there are about equal chances of above normal, normal or below normal precipitation.


Current storage capacity on the Rio Grande Basin in New Mexico only averages 15 percent, and at this point in 2013 storage capacity was just 13 percent. In the San Juan basin, Navajo Reservoir storage capacity is at 59 percent, compared to 55 percent capacity last year. Average statewide reservoir storage is a meager 24 percent of capacity.


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

SNOTEL Data

  April 1, 2014 1981-2010 Median
  Water Content Water Content
SNOTEL Site... Inches Inches
Chamita 0.8 7.9
Red River 0.0 7.4
Cumbres Trestle 20.0 26.8
Wolf Creek Summit 21.5 31.4

 

New Mexico Water Supply Forecast - April 1, 2014

STREAM AND STATION

San Juan Basin

 

Forecast Coordinated with NRCS

30-Year Avg
(1981-2010)
1000 AF

Forecast
Period

Forecast
1000 AF

% of 30
Year Avg

Navajo Reservoir Inflow

(San Juan River)

April - July 515 70 735

Vallecito Reservoir Inflow (Colorado)

(Los Pinos River)

April - July 175 90 194

Durango, Colorado

(Animas River)

April - July 390 94 415

     Rio Grande Basin

 

Del Norte (near), Colorado

April - Sept

410

80

515

 

Otowi Bridge, New Mexico

March – July

230 32

720

 

San Marcial, New Mexico

March - July

43 8

510

Mogote (near), Colorado

(Conejos River)

April - Sept

132 68

194

El Vado Reservoir Inflow, New Mexico

(Rio Chama)

March - July

64 28

225

Chamita (near), New Mexico

(Rio Chama)

March - July

75 24

312

Pecos (near), New Mexico

(Pecos River)

March - July

26 46

57

Santa Rosa Reservoir Inflow, New Mexico

(Pecos River)

March - July

15.3

27

56

     Canadian Basin

Conchas Reservoir Inflow, New Mexico

(Canadian River)

March - June

9

33

30

(30 yr median)