SANTA ROSA LAKE, N.M. –
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque District, began a block release of water from Santa Rosa Lake, Monday, May 13, 2019.
The Carlsbad Irrigation District, which owns the irrigation storage in the lake, requested the approximately 37,000 acre-feet volume release. The release is expected to last until May 28, 2019. The target release rate is 1,350 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at the gage below Santa Rosa Dam."
“The total volume and last day of the block release will be dependent on the final volume requested by Carlsbad Irrigation District, and the actual rate of release achieved during operations. Actual daily release rate could be modified if significant storm inflows are occurring downstream of Santa Rosa Dam,” said Garret Ross, Pecos and San Juan Basin Manager in the Albuquerque District’s Water Management Section.
This block release will transfer water downstream to Sumner and Brantley reservoirs for water operations during the irrigation season. The release is being coordinated among the Corps’ Santa Rosa Lake project, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Carlsbad Irrigation District, and USGS.
The estimated water elevation at Santa Rosa at the start of the release was approximately 4,745.9 feet, or approximately 87,100 acre-feet in volume. The estimated total drop in lake elevation is expected to be about 8.5 feet.
“If the NRCS snowmelt forecast holds true, we should recover to over 80,000 acre-feet in storage by the end of July,” Ross said.
The release is not expected to significantly impact fishing and recreation at the lake. Santa Rosa Dam is the first major dam along the Pecos River, and its reservoir has a 2,434 square mile contributing drainage area. The other two dams, Sumner Lake and Dam and Brantley Dam, are owned by the Bureau of Reclamation. The Santa Rosa Reservoir is a main component in the Pecos River Basin comprehensive plan, providing irrigation storage, flood control, and sediment retention.
Although the reservoir is a Corps' managed lake, the campgrounds and most recreation areas at Santa Rosa Lake are managed by New Mexico State Parks.