On New Mexico’s Rio Grande, the biggest year since 1995

We’re closing out 2019 with big flows on the Rio Grande through Albuquerque – at least big for this time of year. Flow at the Albuquerque gauge Friday topped 2,000 cubic feet per second, setting a record for Nov. 29 at a gauge that goes back to the mid-1960s.

graph of high 2019 flows on the Rio Grande through Albuquerque

2019 flows through Albuquerque

A couple hundred of those cubic feet per second were the result of a large storm, but mostly it’s institutional. In response to the big snowpacks of last winter, water managers are moving a lot of water down through the system, shifting it from upstream storage in El Vado Reservoir on the Rio Chama to Elephant Butte Reservoir. Elephant Butte is our Rio Grande Compact measurement point, and in a wet year like this our delivery obligation thereto goes way up.

In this regard, the gauge at the El Vado release point is really interesting.

2019 flows out of El Vado Dam, graphed

El Vado releases, 2019

One Comment

  1. John:

    Be more specific as to the compact measurement point. It was at the stream gage downstream of the dam. It was shifted there in 1948 so that evaporation losses are shifted to upstream accounting rather that downstream accounting.

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