Figure 1. Comparison of groundwater storage in two different aquifer types: a. Annual change in groundwater storage for two different counties from the NM DSWB, b. Location of example NM aquifers with different recharge rates.
Updated NM Dynamic Statewide Water Budget
by Kevin Perez, NM WRRI Program Specialist; Ahmed Mashaly, NM WRRI Graduate Research Assistant; Sam Fernald, NM WRRI Director
The NM WRRI has recently updated the New Mexico Dynamic Statewide Water Budget (NM DSWB) model, which is supported in part by the State of New Mexico as part of the Statewide Water Assessment. This new version includes updated input data for the historical period by addition of the Water Use by Categories report released in 2019 by the NM Office of the State Engineer. The NM WRRI has released data visualizations for the latest version of the model on its web page.
The NM DSWB provides a comprehensive understanding of the water budget at different spatial scales: statewide, water planning regions (WPR), river basins and counties. The historical period of the model uses existing data to show historical water budgets with all major flows and storage in New Mexico from 1975-2018. The future period provides future scenarios from 2019-2099, which includes options for different climate change models, population growth, water use efficiency, and agricultural land acreage (Peterson et al., 2019).
One example of the NM DSWB capabilities is shown in the figure above highlighting the diversity of New Mexico’s hydrology. Comparison of the historical changes in groundwater storage over the last 43 years is very different for two selected counties. In Lea County, the groundwater storage has been steadily declining, while in Socorro County, groundwater storage has been relatively stable [See graph in Figure 1.a]. In Lea County, most groundwater used is fossil groundwater from aquifers that receive very little to no recharge from the surface. In Socorro County, by contrast, groundwater is recharged through connections to the Rio Grande during periods with sufficient river flow. Seepage from rivers, canals, and irrigated landscapes recharges river-connected aquifers [See aquifer map in Figure 1.b]. The model helps visualize New Mexico’s hydrologic diversity as part of planning our water future.
Peterson, K., Hanson, A., Roach, J., Randall, J., Thomson, B. 2019. A Dynamic Statewide Water Budget for New Mexico: Phase III – Future Scenario Implementation.