Composite Regional Groundwater Hydrographs for Selected Principal Aquifers in New Mexico, 1980–2019

Open-File Report 2022-1008
Prepared in cooperation with the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer



Groundwater is an important source of water for New Mexico. An estimated 48 percent of the total water used comes from groundwater sources, and groundwater levels generally are declining over large areas of New Mexico. Groundwater levels are affected by local and regional recharge or discharge processes. Groundwater hydrographs show the history of groundwater-level changes at a well. A single hydrograph is not necessarily representative of the larger regional area; however, individual hydrographs from several wells can be combined into a composite hydrograph to show average groundwater changes for a regional area. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, has been measuring groundwater levels in a network of wells since about 1925. Although groundwater levels in the statewide well network have been measured at various frequencies, most wells have been measured in 5-year cycles since about 1980. The composite hydrographs in this report were developed to show groundwater-level changes for selected principal aquifers in New Mexico. Composite hydrographs were developed using wells in the Colorado Plateaus aquifers, the High Plains aquifer, the Pecos River Basin alluvial aquifer, the Rio Grande aquifer system, and the Roswell Basin aquifer system. Statewide, groundwater levels generally have declined or remained steady over the time period in aquifers analyzed for this study. The largest water-level declines occurred in the Colorado Plateaus and High Plains aquifers and in the Rio Grande aquifer system (north-central New Mexico), where median water-level declines ranged from 17 to 40 feet and mean water-level declines ranged from 3.8 to 32 feet. Groundwater-level declines (or rises) were generally smaller in other areas of New Mexico.

Suggested Citation

Myers, N.C., 2022, Composite regional groundwater hydrographs for selected principal aquifers in New Mexico, 1980–2019: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2022–1008, 51 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Composite Groundwater-Level Hydrographs
  • Composite and Normalized Composite Hydrographs for Selected Aquifers in New Mexico
  • Summary
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1. Creation of Refined Principal Aquifers Shapefile
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Composite regional groundwater hydrographs for selected principal aquifers in New Mexico, 1980–2019
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2022-1008
DOI 10.3133/ofr20221008
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) New Mexico Water Science Center
Description Report: vii, 51 p.; Data Release; Dataset
Country United States
State New Mexico
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details