skip all navigation
skip banner links
skip primary navigation

Open-file Report - 604
La Cienega Groundwater Level Monitoring, Santa Fe County, New Mexico: 2019 Summary of Findings

Ethan Mamer



As a follow up to hydrogeologic research performed by the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources in recent years (summarized in Johnson, et al., 2016), a groundwater monitoring network was implemented around La Cienega, Santa Fe County, New Mexico beginning in the fall of 2015. The primary aquifer in La Cienega is within the Ancha Formation, overlying the Tesuque Formation. The Ancha Formation aquifer exists as buried valleys of coarse sediments that are highly transmissive set within and connected to the Tesuque Formation (Figure 1). Figure 2 shows the locations of the current wells in the monitoring network, with symbols color coded to the formation in which the wells are completed.

Previous hydrogeologic research by Johnson, et al. (2016) indicates that the groundwater in this region is highly susceptible to regional influences such as pumping, drought, and land use changes. The groundwater levels in many wells in the primary aquifer around La Cienega have steadily dropped since the (Figure 3).

Groundwater level monitoring provides an essential tool in groundwater management. The data are used in the development of more accurate groundwater models, and can help with protection of groundwater resources. Measurements of changing groundwater levels also directly reflect changes in groundwater storage.

The monitoring network that was established in 2015 was composed of two overlapping groups; 23 wells that were measured every six months and 14 wells that had been measured approximately 10 years prior. The initial sampling schedule and distribution was useful to confirm the seasonal trends experienced throughout the area. The twice annual monitoring frequency was intended to reflect the local seasonal highs (April) and lows (October), relating to the impact of the growing season on the water table. The grouping of wells that had previously been measured 10 years prior was intended to capture long term trends affecting the local aquifers.

From 2015–2017, the monitoring network of 23 wells was measured six times, twice annually. The long-term monitoring network was restructured in the spring of 2018 to more efficiently monitor the groundwater, while still collecting valuable, useable data. The monitoring network is currently being visited once every year in late spring. As has been demonstrated in the previous monitoring reports, sampling during the spring period represents the maximum groundwater level in the wells. In addition to changing the monitoring frequency in 2018 the spatial coverage of the monitoring network was expanded to the north and south, which now includes 43 wells. The majority of the wells that were added to this monitoring network were measured previously in 2015 as part of the larger ‘10 year’ repeat measurement group. This report is a brief summary of 2019 groundwater level monitoring activities in La Cienega.

$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 4.49 MB 02/02/2021 11:17:20 AM
OFR-604_La_Cienega_2019.pdf 4.56 MB 02/02/2021 11:16:55 AM
OFR-604_Appendix-1_water-level_hydrographs.pdf 134 KB 02/02/2021 11:17:12 AM

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.