Water watchers see 'promising' spring for Taos area streams

By Cody Hooks
chooks@taosnews.com
Posted 4/11/19

When Rodarte's Gloria Maestas, the former administrator of that community's small water system, looks out at the river flowing with force, or counts the number of snowstorms that blanketed the Peñasco Valley over the last season

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Water watchers see 'promising' spring for Taos area streams

Posted

When Rodarte's Gloria Maestas, the former administrator of that community's small water system, looks out at the river flowing with force, or counts the number of snowstorms that blanketed the Peñasco Valley over the last season, she knows from experience what state officials are also saying: the water supply is looking good for the coming months.

"March was an extremely important month for water supply in New Mexico and it did not disappoint," read the monthly basin outlook report by Natural Resources Conservation Service of New Mexico, which was released the April 1.

Snowpack in the Río Grande basin stands at 123 percent of normal (as measured over the last three decades). It's a far cry from this time last year, when the whole basin's snowpack was just 26 percent of the average.

Snowpack in southern Colorado has also contributed to streamflows in New Mexico.

According to the report, the projected streamflow for the Río Grande has "increased significantly" since last month. "Near the [Río Grande] headwaters forecasts are as high as 140 percent of average. The Río Pueblo near Taos is as high as 145 percent for the April to July time frame."

Besides acequia mayordomos, such information can also prove helpful for small, mutual domestic water systems, where wells are intimately tied with fluctuating water tables.

"All that information is very useful," said Maestas. "It's always good to have more information than you need, instead of not enough."

Still, she said, "Our best assessment is experience and visual. We see the little signs, like runoff and the ojitos."

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