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Block release of water scheduled to begin from Santa Rosa Reservoir

Published Sept. 5, 2019

SANTA ROSA LAKE, N.M. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque District, has scheduled a block release of water from the lake to start Tuesday, Sept. 10, at 8:00 am.

The Bureau of Reclamation, acting on the behalf of Carlsbad Irrigation District, requested the 27,000 acre-feet release.

The block release from Santa Rosa Lake is scheduled to last until Sept. 20 to transfer water to the Sumner and Brantley reservoirs.

"The final date and time for the end of the release will depend on when the full release of 27,000 acre-feet is complete, or if Carlsbad Irrigation District requests an earlier stop due to rains coming into the basin" said Garret Ross, Pecos and San Juan Basin Manager in the Albuquerque District’s Water Management Section.

Based on current conditions, the lake’s elevation at the beginning of the release is estimated to be at 4732.2 feet, or approximately 46,980 acre-feet. At the end of the release, the lake’s elevation is estimated to be at 4,716.6 feet, or approximately 19,420 acre-feet. This equates to about a 15.6 feet drop in lake elevation during the block release. The final drop in elevation depends on the actual inflows into the lake and release volume.

The lake is expected to drop from 2,385 surface acres to around 1,190 surface acres.

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.


Elizabeth Lockyear

Release no. 19-014