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Scientific Investigations Report 2004—5188

Effects of Reservoir Installation, San Juan-Chama Project Water, and Reservoir Operations on Streamflow and Water Quality in the Rio Chama and Rio Grande, Northern and Central New Mexico, 1938-2000

U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2004—5188, 28 pages (Published 2004)

By Jeff B. Langman and Scott K. Anderholm

Prepared in Cooperation with Bernalillo County

This report is available online in pdf format: USGS sir2004-5188 (3 MB)

ABSTRACT

Cover of SIR 2004—5188.

The coordinated operation of Heron, El Vado, and Abiquiu Dams on the Rio Chama and Cochiti Dam on the Rio Grande and the importation of Colorado River Basin water by the San Juan-Chama Project have altered streamflow and water quality of the Rio Chama and Rio Grande in northern and central New Mexico. The coordinated retention of streamflow in the four reservoirs increased median streamflows, decreased extreme flows, and decreased periods of small streamflow; inflow of San Juan-Chama Project water increased overall streamflow in the Rio Chama and Rio Grande. These changes to streamflow decreased specific conductance and suspended-sediment concentration and increased pH in the Rio Chama and the Rio Grande.

Following construction of Heron and Cochiti Dams and integration of reservoir operations on the Rio Chama and the Rio Grande, the inflow of San Juan-Chama Project water and retention of snowmelt runoff influenced water quality. These influences varied by season because reservoir releases fluctuated according to downstream user needs and annual streamflow variation. The influences of San Juan-Chama Project water and retained snowmelt on water quality diminished with downstream flow as the Rio Grande was subjected to various natural and anthropogenic inflows. Because of the variability and type of seasonal influences, streamflow did not have a strong annual correlation with water quality in the Rio Chama or the Rio Grande.

CONTENTS

Abstract

Introduction

Purpose and Scope

Description of Study Area

Physiography

Climate

Legal constraints on streamflow

Reservoirs

Tributaries

Irrigation diversions and inflows

Treated wastewater and urban runoff

Evapotranspiration

Ground-water inflows

Previous water-quality studies

Methods of analysis

Sources and description of data

Division of data

Data comparison

Acknowledgments

Effects of reservoir installation, San Juan-Chama Project water, and reservoir operations on streamflow and water quality in the Rio Chama and Rio Grande

Potential climate bias

Potential sampling bias

Streamflow

Rio Chama

Rio Grande

Specific conductance

Rio Chama

Rio Grande

pH

Rio Chama

Rio Grande

Suspended sediment

Rio Chama

Rio Grande

Constituent trends and correlation

Summary

References

Supplemental information: LOESS fit lines and study period data


REPORT AVAILABILITY

This report is available online in pdf format: USGS SIR 2004-5188 (3 MB)
To view the PDF document, you need the Adobe Acrobat® Reader installed on your computer. (A free copy of the Acrobat® Reader may be downloaded from Adobe Systems Incorporated.)

Suggested citation:

Langman, J.B. and Anderholm, S.K., 2004, Effects of Reservoir Installation, San Juan-Chama Project Water, and Reservoir Operations on Streamflow and Water Quality in the Rio Chama and Rio Grande, Northern and Central New Mexico, 1938-2000: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 20045188

For more information, contact the New Mexico Publications Unit.

USGS New Mexico Publications New Mexico Water Science Center

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