Water chemistry, seepage investigation, streamflow, reservoir storage, and annual availability of water for the San Juan-Chama Project, northern New Mexico, 1942-2010

Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5155
Prepared in cooperation with Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority
By:  and 

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Abstract

The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority supplements the municipal water supply for the Albuquerque metropolitan area, in central New Mexico, with surface water diverted from the Rio Grande. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, undertook this study in which water-chemistry data and historical streamflow were compiled and new water-chemistry data were collected to characterize the water chemistry and streamflow of the San Juan-Chama Project (SJCP). Characterization of streamflow included analysis of the variability of annual streamflow and comparison of the theoretical amount of water that could have been diverted into the SJCP to the actual amount of water that was diverted for the SJCP. Additionally, a seepage investigation was conducted along the channel between Azotea Tunnel Outlet and the streamflow-gaging station at Willow Creek above Heron Reservoir to estimate the magnitude of the gain or loss in streamflow resulting from groundwater interaction over the approximately 10-mile reach.


Generally, surface-water chemistry varied with streamflow throughout the year. Streamflow ranged from high flow to low flow on the basis of the quantity of water diverted from the Rio Blanco, Little Navajo River, and Navajo River for the SJCP. Vertical profiles of the water temperature over the depth of the water column at Heron Reservoir indicated that the reservoir is seasonally stratified. The results from the seepage investigations indicated a small amount of loss of streamflow along the channel.


Annual variability in streamflow for the SJCP was an indication of the variation in the climate parameters that interact to contribute to streamflow in the Rio Blanco, Little Navajo River, Navajo River, and Willow Creek watersheds. For most years, streamflow at Azotea Tunnel Outlet started in March and continued for approximately 3 months until the middle of July. The majority of annual streamflow at Azotea Tunnel Outlet occurred from May through June, with a median duration of slightly longer than a month. Years with higher maximum daily streamflow generally are associated with higher annual streamflow than years with lower maximum daily streamflow. The amount of water that can be diverted for the SJCP is controlled by the availability of streamflow and is limited by several factors including legal limits for diversion, limits from the SJCP infrastructure including the size of the diversion dams and tunnels, the capacity of Heron Reservoir, and operational constraints that limit when water can be diverted. The average annual streamflow at Azotea Tunnel Outlet was 94,710 acre-feet, and the annual streamflow at Azotea Tunnel Outlet was approximately 75 percent of the annual streamflow available for the SJCP. The average annual percentage of available streamflow not diverted for the SJCP was 14 percent because of structural limitations of the capacity of infrastructure, 1 percent because of limitations of the reservoir storage capacity, and 29 percent because of the limitations from operations. For most years, the annual available streamflow not diverted for unknown reasons exceeded the sum of the water not diverted because of structural, capacity, and operational limitations.

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Water chemistry, seepage investigation, streamflow, reservoir storage, and annual availability of water for the San Juan-Chama Project, northern New Mexico, 1942-2010
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2014-5155
DOI 10.3133/sir20145155
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) New Mexico Water Science Center
Description Report: viii, 52 p.; 1 Appendix
Country United States
State Colorado, New Mexico
Other Geospatial San Juan-Chama
Datum North American Datum of 1983
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