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Water Supply Forecast for March 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, a much below normal to non-existent January and mostly below normal February. This has produced a below to much below snowpack over New Mexico as we head toward the home stretch 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 38 percent of normal into Cochiti Lake and only 13 percent into Elephant Butte Lake. Other Rio Grande Basin reservoir forecast inflows include 36 percent of normal at El Vado Lake and just 10 percent of normal at Jemez Canyon Reservoir. Inflow to Santa Rosa Lake is expected to be 25 percent of normal while in the San Juan Basin, the Navajo Reservoir is expecting 79 percent of normal inflow.


Precipitation across New Mexico during February 2014 was mostly below normal. Water Year 2014 precipitation, October 2013 through February 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 March 1 was 41 percent of the median and 57 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 March 1, 2013.


The prospect for a normal spring snowmelt runoff across most of New Mexico is slim at best, aside from the San Juan River Basin. ENSO (El Niño–Southern Oscillation) neutral conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean are expected to persist through the 2014 spring. In addition, long range forecasts for 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 14 percent, and at this point in 2013 storage capacity was just 12 percent. In the San Juan basin, Navajo Reservoir storage capacity is at 57 percent, compared to 55 percent capacity last year.


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

 

SNOTEL Data

  March 1, 2014 1981-2010 Median
  Water Content Water Content
SNOTEL Site... Inches Inches
Chamita 3.2 9.5
Red River 1.5 (estimate) 6.8
Cumbres Trestle 15.6 21.4
Wolf Creek Summit 18/7 (estimate) 24.8

 

New Mexico Water Supply Forecast - March 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 580 79 735

Vallecito Reservoir Inflow (Colorado)

(Los Pinos River)

April - July 205 106 194

Durango, Colorado

(Animas River)

April - July 400 96 415

     Rio Grande Basin

 

Del Norte (near), Colorado

April - Sept

435

84

515

 

Otowi Bridge, New Mexico

March – July

270 38

720

 

San Marcial, New Mexico

March - July

66 13

510

Mogote (near), Colorado

(Conejos River)

April - Sept

144 74

194

El Vado Reservoir Inflow, New Mexico

(Rio Chama)

March - July

80 36

225

Chamita (near), New Mexico

(Rio Chama)

March - July

135 43

312

Pecos (near), New Mexico

(Pecos River)

March - July

23 40

57

Santa Rosa Reservoir Inflow, New Mexico

(Pecos River)

March - July

13.9 25

56

     Canadian Basin

Conchas Reservoir Inflow, New Mexico

(Canadian River)

March - June

10

33

30

(30 yr median)