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Hammond Project History (53 KB) (pdf)
General Description| Plan| Development| Benefits


General Description

The Hammond Project is in northwestern New Mexico along the southern bank of the San Juan River and opposite the towns of Blanco, Bloomfield, and Farmington, New Mexico. Project lands lie in a narrow strip 20 miles long. The project provides an irrigation supply for 3,933 acres, 3,213 of which had been limited mostly to grazing before project development. During the land classification process, investigations indicated that 1,200 acres had been intermittently irrigated by pumping from the San Juan River. In 1962, 720 acres were incorporated as full service lands when project water became available and the pumps were abandoned.

Major project works consist of Hammond Diversion Dam on the San Juan River, the Main Gravity Canal, a hydraulic-turbine-driven pumping plant and an auxiliary pumping plant, three major laterals, minor distribution laterals, and the drainage system.

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Most of the irrigation supply is obtained from direct diversions of the natural streamflow of the San Juan River. When necessary, these flows are supplemented by storage releases from Navajo Reservoir, a major feature of the Colorado River Storage Project.

Water is diverted from the river by Hammond Diversion Dam and turned into the 27.4-mile-long Main Canal. Major diversions from the canal are made by the East and West Highline laterals, which are served by the Hammond Pumping Plant, and the Gravity Extension lateral. Small diversions are made by minor laterals.

Facility Descriptions

Hammond Diversion Dam

Hammond Diversion Dam is on the San Juan River about 2 miles upstream from Blanco. It consists of a rockfill overflow weir with embankment wings. The weir section has a design capacity of 16,300 cubic feet per second. The dam, with a crest length of 1,370 feet, includes headworks with apron and training walls, sluiceway with wing walls, and an overflow weir section of concrete sheet piling.

Main Gravity Canal and Lateral System

The water conveyance systems for the Hammond Project consist of the: Main Gravity Canal (27.4 miles), Gravity Extension Lateral (4.71 miles), East Highline Lateral (2.30 miles), and West Highline Lateral (3.24 miles). Of the approximately 37.2 miles of canals and laterals, there is about 3.14 miles of in-line structures and 7.33 miles of concrete lining. The remainder, about 26.7 miles, is unlined or consists of a marginal earth lining material.

The Main Gravity Canal heads at the Hammond Diversion Dam on the San Juan River and meanders in a southwesterly direction through the project area. The canal has an initial capacity of 90 cubic feet per second. From the pumping plant to the lower end of the project, the canal capacity is reduced progressively from 5 to 10 cubic feet per second. Project lands can generally be served from turnouts at the major canals and laterals; however, additional short laterals are used to reach isolated delivery points. A number of natural drainage channels that cross the project have been improved to prevent flood damage to project lands and irrigation structures.

Hammond Pumping Plant

The pumping plant is about 6 miles below the canal heading and utilizes a 30-foot drop to lift 18 cubic feet per second of water to the East and West Highline laterals.

In 1968, an auxiliary pumping plant was constructed about 1,000 feet upstream from the original plant. This plant services the East Highline lateral.

Operating Agencies

The project was turned over to the Hammond Conservancy District for operation and maintenance effective January 1, 1974. The Hammond Conservancy District is a nonprofit organization organized under statutes of the State of New Mexico and is governed by a board of directors elected by the water users within the District`s distribution area.

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Corn, beans, and squash were cultivated by the prehistoric cliff dwellers and their descendants. The Aztec Ruins National Monument, 9 miles north of the project, preserves some of the culture of this civilization. Although Spanish explorers and missionaries visited the area, most of the early Spanish expeditions did not result in settlement.

Settlers came in about 1870, and with them came the first attempts to irrigate the land. Lack of funds prevented construction of adequate irrigation facilities, and although some small projects were partially successful for short periods, they eventually failed. Reconstruction and repair of flood-damaged structures became so burdensome that he project area was gradually abandoned from 1912 to 1916.


Possibilities for irrigation development in the San Juan River Basin have been explored by local groups and governmental agencies for more than 50 years. In 1946, the Bureau of Reclamation described a plan for the Hammond Project in a basin-type report. A feasibility report was prepared in 1947, and in 1950 a second report on the Hammond Project was prepared as a supplemental to the 1950 report on the Colorado River Storage Project and participating projects. This second report was amended in 1953, and the project was later authorized. The definite plan report was completed in 1958.


The project was authorized as one of the initial participating projects of the Colorado River Storage Project by the act of April 11, 1956 (70 Stat. 105).


Contracts for construction were awarded in 1960 and 1961 and the project was completed in 1962.

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The principal crops grown on the project lands are alfalfa, apples, corn, beans, pasture, wheat, oats, and barley. Irrigation has contributed to the economy of the area through the production of dairy products and fruit.

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Last updated: Feb 02, 2012