Test drilling along the Rio Grande in the Bosque del Apache Grant in Socorro County, New Mexico has shown that the area is hydrologically complex and that the quality of the ground water varies from saline to fresh within short distances both laterally and vertically.
Nearly all of the riverside land in the Grant is occupied by the migratory waterfowl refuge of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Potable and near-potable water is obtained from 12 wells in this area that tap sand and gravel, and the wells are capable of yielding 1,000 gallons per minute or more.
Stallion Range Center, a military installation on the White Sands Missile Range, about 15 miles east of =he waterfowl refuge, needs about 100,000 gallons per day of potable water. Potable water in large quantities is not known to be available at a location closer to the Center than the refuge area.
The Fish and Wildlife Service, which operates the waterfowl refuge, gave permission to White Sands Missile Range to test drill and to develop a supply well in certain areas along the Rio Grande outside the managed lands of the refuge. The U.S. Geological Survey was then asked by White Sands Missile Range to choose locations for test drilling and to monitor drilling and testing of the wells.
Between 1963 and 1967 test wells were drilled and a suitable location for a supply well as found. The well would be about 250 feet deep and would tap a body of potable water that is about 100 feet in thickness and is thought to underlie an area of at least 5 square miles.
This report contains diagrammatic sections that show the lateral and vertical relation of waters of different quality along the Rio Grande in a part of the Bosque del Apache Grant. Basic data are given in tables; they include records of 7 test wells and 12 high-yield supply wells, and 52 chemical analyses of ground water from the wells.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Ground-water exploration in the Bosque del Apache Grant, Socorro County, New Mexico