Reclamation and Army Corps of Engineers Release Middle Rio Grande Annual Operating Plan

Media Contact: Mary Carlson, 505-462-3576

For Release: April 19, 2012

The Bureau of Reclamation's Albuquerque Area Office and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today released their Annual Operating Plan for the Middle Rio Grande.

Because the snowpack in the northern mountains is less than half of what is considered an average snowpack, water will be meager in the Middle Rio Grande this year. Reclamation will use previously leased water currently in storage to help meet the flow requirements in the Biological Opinion for the Rio Grande silvery minnow.

In a dry year, the 2003 Biological Opinion requires Reclamation to keep the river wet through Central Bridge. The Isleta and San Acacia reaches of the river can be dried in a controlled manner after June 15.

The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District expects a shorter irrigation season to end in September, about a month early.

The April forecast data released by the Natural Resources Conservation Service indicates snowpack volumes throughout northern New Mexico are approximately 30 percent of average. The inflow at El Vado Reservoir is expected to be about 115,000 acre-feet of water or about 49 percent of average. The inflow at Heron Reservoir is expected to be about 57,000 acre-feet or about 62 percent of average.

Reclamation will again be cooperating with the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority and other stakeholders to move water from El Vado Reservoir to Abiquiu on the weekends to allow for rafting flows on the Rio Chama.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.