Elephant Butte Dam


Elephant Butte Dam and Reservoir (originally called Engle Dam) is on the Rio Grande, 125 miles north of El Paso, Texas, can store 2,210,298 acre-feet of water to provide irrigation and year-round power generation. This is a concrete gravity dam 301 feet high and 1,674 feet long including the spillway. It contains 618,785 cubic yards of concrete. The dam was completed in 1916, but storage operation began in 1915.

The power system consists of a 24,300-kilowatt hydroelectric powerplant at Elephant Butte Dam. A system consisting of 490 miles of 115-kilovolt transmission line and 11 substations totaling 81,750 kilovolt-amperes, which was developed and operated by the Rio Grande Project until 1977, has been sold to a private electric company.


Foundation: Hard, sound, fissured sandstone in irregular beds, containing pockets and interbedded strata of friable shale and numerous small springs throughout foundation area

RegionFacilities in Upper Colorado | Upper Colorado Home Page
StateNew Mexico
ProjectRio Grande
Dam Type
ReservoirElephant Butte
WatercourseRio Grande
Net Generation38,449,061 kWh
Original Construction1912-1916
Modified Construction
National ID NumberNM00129
Hydrologic Unit Code

Structural Height301.00 ft
Hydraulic Height (Normal Operating Depth at Dam)197.00 ft
Top Parapet (Elevation)
Spillway Crest Elevation
Crest Elevation4414.00 ft
Crest Length1674.00 ft
Crest Width18.00 ft
Base Width228.00 ft
Volume of Dam Construction Materials618,785 cu yd
Streambed at Dam Axis4210.0 ft
Top of Exclusive Flood Control Pool (Elevation)
Top of Joint Use Pool (Elevation)
Top of Active Conservation Pool (Elevation)4407.0 ft
Top of Inactive Conservation Pool (Elevation)4282.2 ft
Top of Dead Storage Pool (Elevation)4231.5 ft

Hydraulics & Hydrology
Total Water Storage at Elevation2109423.00 acre-ft at 4407.00
Maximum Water Surface Elevation4407.0 ft
Normal Water Surface Elevation
Spillway Type
Auxiliary Spillway
Spillway Capacity at Elevation34750.00 cfs at 4415.00
Auxiliary Spillway Capacity at Elevation
Uncontrolled Spillway Capacity at Elevation
Outlet Works Capacity at Elevation10800.00 cfs at 4407.0 ft
Diversion Capacity at Elevation
Drainage Area28900.00 sq mi
Hydrometeorological Report (HMR)
Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) Report

Contact Information
TitleArea Office Manager
OrganizationAlbuquerque Area Office
Address555 Broadway NE, Suite 100
CityAlbuquerque, NM 87102-2352
Phone (Office)505 462-3542
TitleElephant Butte Field Division
AddressHC 32, Box 312
CityTruth or Consequences, NM
Phone (Office)505 894-6661 ext. 106

Last updated: Feb 20, 2009