Water-resources activities of the U.S. Geological Survey in New Mexico, fiscal year 1992

Open-File Report 93-661

Compiled by:
Harriet R. Allen



Awareness of our environment in general, and water resources in particular, has brought increased interest in and support of hydrologic data collection and research. The quantity, quality, and distribution of water are extremely important to the future well-being of New Mexico. The State's surface-water resources are minimal and highly variable due to climate and to regulation and diversion; ground-water resources are subject to development that exceeds natural recharge and to potential contamination by land use. Issues related to global climate change, disposal of hazardous wastes, toxic substances in water, water rights, and ground-water contamination are evolving areas of greater public concern. At the same time there is a continuing need for a better understanding of various hydrologic systems and processes in order to manage these limited water resources for maximum benefit to present and future generations.

The U.S. Geological Survey has collected and disseminated information on the water resources of New Mexico for more than a century. The Survey began to collect records of streamflow in New Mexico in December 1888 when the first discharge measurements were made on the Rio Grande near the present gaging station at Embudo. This site, called the "birthplace of systematic stream gaging," was chosen to be the training center for the first hydrographers of the Irrigation Survey, a bureau within the original Geological Survey. Since that time, in cooperation with Federal, State, local, and tribal agencies, we have monitored streams at hundreds of sites throughout the State and have a current network of more than 200 streamflow-gaging stations. Through the Cooperative Program, we also have established sites where ground-water levels are monitored to document changes in ground-water storage or where surface-water and groundwater samples are collected to determine water chemistry, and we have undertaken investigative studies to define the availability, quality, and distribution of water resources. Information from the data program and results of investigative studies are made available to water-resources managers, regulators, and the public to be used for the effective management of the State's water resources.

This report provides a brief summary of the activities of the New Mexico District for FY (fiscal year) 1992, including our mission, organization, sources of funding, and descriptions of current projects. This report serves to document not only the content of the program, but also the diversity and complexity of that program. Cooperation among water-resources agencies will be essential in effectively dealing with water-related issues facing New Mexico. We look forward to the challenge of addressing these issues by continuing to provide factual hydrologic data and technically sound areal appraisals and interpretive studies.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Water-resources activities of the U.S. Geological Survey in New Mexico, fiscal year 1992
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Albuquerque, NM
vi, 75 p.
United States
New Mexico