— October 10, 2022
A new paper in Hydrogeology Journal by bureau geologist Geoffrey Rawling describes and interprets water-level changes in the Mimbres Basin of southwestern New Mexico. Regular manual water-level measurements are essential for understanding and managing groundwater resources in New Mexico’s aquifers, but they are expensive, time- and labor-intensive, and the number of measurements in the Mimbres Basin has declined significantly over the past 20 years. In this new study, over one hundred new water-level measurements were made in wells in the winter of 2019 – 2020. The new data were combined with 40 years of historical data using the mathematical method of spatio-temporal kriging to generate water table maps for 1985, 2000, 2012, and 2020. These sequential maps show substantial declines in water levels and illustrate how the changes vary in space and time. The paper discusses how the water-level declines are related to declines in precipitation, variations in land use, and ongoing groundwater pumping for agriculture. The research was funded by the Healy Foundation and the NMBGMR Aquifer Mapping Program.
Rawling, G.C., 2022, Evaluation of water-level trends in the Mimbres Basin, southwest New Mexico (USA), using spatiotemporal kriging, Hydrogeology Journal. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-022-02549-7