Albuquerque Area Office
Water Operations Group
Recreation: River Rafting Forecast
The state of New Mexico entered into an agreement to relinquish some of their credit water in Elephant Butte, which means water can be stored in upstream reservoirs (El Vado and Abiquiu). So, much of the runnoff coming into El Vado will be captured and stored in El Vado and not bypassed. Most of the water for rafting the Chama will accur during irrigation season.
We're trying to eliminate the big swings in the flows, these tend to stir up sediment, which takes a good while to settle.......this tends to add stress to the fish and the fishing. A storm event that happens every once in a while is one thing, but every weekend with high increases and big drops in flows does not give the river any time to settle out.
The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District's irrigation demand is the biggest factor in El Vado's release. If it's hot and dry in the middle valley, you can expect good flows out of El Vado to meet irrigation demands. If it starts raining cats and dogs for several days (which it can do on a good monsoon season), expect the flows at El Vado to be cut back.
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