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Upper Colorado Region
Salt Lake City, Utah
Media Contact:
Mary Perea Carlson
(505) 462-3576

Released On: April 17, 2013

Reclamation and Army Corps of Engineers Plan for Continued Drought
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.

As we head into our third consecutive year of severe drought, Reclamation is focused on working closely with all partners to operate to meet both water user needs and flow targets under the 2003 Biological Opinion for the Rio Grande silvery minnow.

In a dry year, the biological opinion requires Reclamation to keep the river wet to Isleta Diversion Dam. Below that diversion dam and in the San Acacia reach, the river can be dried in a controlled manner after June 15. The current model projection for demand to meet flow requirements is somewhere between 65,000 and 80,000 acre-feet, however that forecast assumes minimal monsoons.

The April forecast data released by the Natural Resources Conservation Service shows snowpack volumes throughout northern New Mexico are approximately 45 percent of average. The inflow at El Vado Reservoir is expected to be about 80,000 acre-feet of water or about 36 percent of average. The inflow at Heron Reservoir is expected to be about 45,000 acre-feet or about 55 percent of average.

Reclamation is currently negotiating additional water leases and expects to have approximately 40,000 to 50,000 acre-feet of water to supplement river flows. Reclamation is working closely with the Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission and other stakeholders to optimize the use of supplemental water. Reclamation will again be working with the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority 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 www.usbr.gov.