The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) recently purchased and is installing ten complete weather stations for the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD). These stations are intended to fill the large gaps that have existed in the real-time weather coverage of the middle valley and supplement the eight existing stations in the MRGCD.
The data from both the original and the new stations are used to determine daily evapotranspiration (ET) values within the MRGCD. Water managers at MRGCD, Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the City of Albuquerque use this data, processed through Reclamation’s “ET Toolbox” to adjust reservoir releases, irrigation diversions, and waste way returns throughout the Middle Rio Grande.
The new stations are also equipped with soil moisture sensors. Six of the ten new stations will be installed in farmers’ fields, and the remaining four stations are designated for installation within the Middle Rio Grande Bosque. One station will be located in each of the four counties served by MRGCD. These stations will measure the same parameters as the other stations for the purposes of calculating riparian ET, which accounts for roughly 505 acre-feet of water consumption within the MRGCD. In addition, these stations are equipped with fuel moisture and fuel temperature sensors. This data will be relayed to the U.S.D.A. Forest Service and others to assist in evaluating fire danger within the Bosque.
All of the new stations, like the originals, will telemeter their collected data on an hourly basis via an FM radio network. This data is received at the MRGCD offices and dispersed to other users, such as Reclamation’s “ET Toolbox,” and New Mexico State Climatology Center. To access the data on ET Toolbox, log on to: http://www.usbr.gov/pmts/rivers/awards/NM/riogrande.html