skip all navigation
skip banner links
skip primary navigation

Open-file Report - 582
Brackish Water Assessment in the Eastern Tularosa Basin, New Mexico

B. Talon Newton and Lewis Land



Communities in the Tularosa Basin, including Tularosa and Alamogordo, face serious challenges related to water resources, both in terms of water quantity and quality. An arid climate, limited surface water as streams or rivers, variable groundwater quality, and projected population increases make water resource management in the Tularosa Basin challenging. Groundwater accounts for approximately 70% of all water use in the area, including irrigation, domestic use, and public supply. It has been estimated that less than four percent of groundwater in the Tularosa Basin is fresh with total dissolved solids (TDS) of less than 1,000 milligrams per liter (mg/L). Most public supply wells pump relatively fresh water from very localized zones located on the eastern margin of the basin at the base of the Sacramento Mountains.

Plans to pump and desalinate brackish water (1,000–10,000 mg/L TDS) for public water supply for Alamogordo are in development. There are concerns about the effect of pumping large quantities of brackish water on the water quality for multiple other users. To evaluate the potential impacts of pumping brackish water on existing water resources, it is necessary to know the spatial distribution of groundwater salinity. This report describes recent efforts by the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR) to assess the spatial distribution of groundwater salinity in the Tularosa Basin. The objectives of this study were to:

  1. Compile and review existing water chemistry data in the area to assess the spatial distribution of groundwater salinity
  2. Collect up to 30 water quality samples to address spatial and temporal data gaps
  3. Using all data, provide an assessment of fresh and brackish water resources
  4. Suggest future research to improve understanding of groundwater salinity in the Tularosa Basin

See ReadMe.txt for more information about this report.

$10.00 Buy Now
CD or DVD-ROM format CD or DVD-ROM format

Also available as a free download.


Open-file Reports are available as free downloads or on CD/DVD-ROM (see below). Note that these reports are subject to frequent revisions and may be unavailable when being modified. The Last Modified date listed here reflects when a file was last saved and may not be the date this report was last revised.

File Name Size Last Modified
OFR-582_ETB_brackishHR.pdf 29.69 MB 02/01/2021 03:54:28 PM
OFR-582_ETB_brackishLR.pdf 1.37 MB 02/01/2021 03:54:42 PM
readme.txt 0 KB 02/01/2021 03:53:55 PM

Most open-file reports are PDF files and require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software to view. These reports may also contain GIS data or other file types, and some are collections of files that are intended to run from a CD-ROM or local hard drive.