skip all navigation
skip banner links
skip primary navigation

Recent & Active Research — Hydrogeology

Adequate water resources are vital to New Mexico. We have worked on hydrogeologic studies throughout the state. These are some of our projects.

Use criteria in the form below to search by keyword, feature or region. Combining search criteria may provide few or no results.



 

 
Below is a random assortment of current and recent research projects.
Water Data Act
figure

The Water Data Act (NMSA 1978, § 72-4B) marks the first time in New Mexico’s history that a law has been enacted to identify and integrate key water data. In response to this 2019 legislation, the directing agencies including NM ISC, NM OSE, NMED, and EMNRD, as convened by the NMBGMR, are working toward developing an integrated Water Data Service for New Mexico. Multiple working groups have been convened, working to ensure that the data and useful information about the data is findable, accessible, interoperable, and usable for those seeking water information for decision making related to water management and planning – the primary goal of the legislation. The initial data platform can be found at newmexicowaterdata.org as a first data inventory step for this multi-year project.

Project lead: Stacy Timmons

[read more...]

Tiffany Fire Rehabilitation, Socorro County
figure

Bureau staff will be monitoring groundwater in the Tiffany Fire burn area to assist in recovery and rehabilitation of the bosque environment.

[read more...]

Rio Arriba County Hydrogeology
figure

Evaluate the quantity and quality of water in Rio Arriba regional aquifers in the communities of Chama, Dixon, Abiquiu, Medanales, and El Rito.

[read more...]

Geology of the Engle and Palomas Basins, Sierra County, New Mexico
figure

Geologists and hydrologists have been interested in basin-fill sediments of the Engle and Palomas Basins in Sierra County since the early 1900s. These Rio Grande rift basins contain packages of sediment shed from the surrounding uplifts over the last ~27,000,000 years. Well logs indicate that these basin-fill deposits, named the Santa Fe Group, are as much as 2 kilometers thick in places.

[read more...]

3D Hydrogeology of the Delaware basin, southeast New Mexico

Three-dimensional, geographic information system (GIS)-based, subsurface geologic models are becoming increasingly common tools for visualizing, evaluating, and managing subsurface resources. The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources Aquifer Mapping Program is developing 3D hydrogeologic-framework models of groundwater basins in New Mexico, including the Delaware Basin in southeastern NM. These models include a suite of geologic raster surfaces, geologic control points, aquifer boundaries, groundwater-level, water-depth, and water-quality data compiled in a readily available GIS map package. The result is a repository of pertinent shallow subsurface data for a given groundwater basin.

[read more...]

High Plains Aquifer Monitoring
figure

The NMBGMR is working with the Ogallala Land & Water Conservancy to measure water levels in the High Plains Aquifer system near Clovis, New Mexico.

[read more...]

Annual Albuquerque Water Table Mapping
figure
Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority

Water-table mapping for the City of Albuquerque

[read more...]

The Healy Collaborative Groundwater Monitoring Network
figure

The Aquifer Mapping Program at New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR), with funding from Healy Foundation and the USGS, has created the statewide Healy Collaborative Groundwater Monitoring Network for New Mexico. This voluntary network began in 2016 and gathers new and existing data on groundwater levels to help us understand how our state's groundwater resources are changing through time, promote increased awareness of water issues around New Mexico, and provide an important foundation for making informed water-management decisions.

[read more...]

Overview of Fresh and Brackish Water Quality - Capitan Reef
figure

The Capitan Reef is a fossil limestone reef of middle Permian age that is dramatically exposed along the southeast flank of the Guadalupe Mountains in Eddy County, New Mexico, reaching its maximum elevation in west Texas, in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. In New Mexico, the reef serves as the host rock for the Big Room in Carlsbad Cavern. A few miles northeast of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, the reef dips into the subsurface and passes beneath the city of Carlsbad, where it forms a karstic aquifer that is the principal source of fresh water for that community (Land and Burger, 2008). The Capitan Reef continues in the subsurface east and south into Lea County, then south for ~150 miles to its southeasternmost outcrop in the Glass Mountains of west Texas.

[read more...]

Mapping suitability for Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) in the Albuquerque Basin
figure

An aquifer can be considered like a bank account. The deposits or credits typically consist of natural recharge adding water to the aquifer (like precipitation or river water seeping into the ground and reaching the groundwater table). Withdrawals take water out of the aquifer, and can include discharge into rivers or pumping of wells. Most cities are concerned with the withdrawal side of the equation and hope nature takes care of the deposits. But Albuquerque has undertaken the progressive measure of inputting additional recharge (deposits) now so there will be sufficient water for future withdrawals, something called managed aquifer recharge (MAR). To that end, the Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) has recently completed a well for deep injection of excess river water into the aquifer, and is currently running surface water down the upper part of Bear Canyon Arroyo for near-surface recharge.

The work is funded by the ABCWUA and conducted by Dan Koning (P.I.), Colin Cikoski, Andy Jochems, and Alex Rinehart (now at NMT EES). The results have been released as Open-file Report 605 and as a summary Fact Sheet.

[read more...]

Snowy River Passage, Ft. Stanton Cave
figure

The main objective of this study is to examine hydrogeologic processes in Snowy River Passage by analysis of individual flood events. For a specific flood event, we will measure:

  1. The volume of water that infiltrates downward through the Snowy River streambed
  2. The volume of water that evaporates from the Snowy River stream
  3. The volume of water that discharges at Government Spring

[read more...]

Middle Rio Grande Aquifer Storage and Recovery
figure

Premilinary assessment of aquifer storage and recovery sites within the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District Service area.

[read more...]

Hydrogeologic Study of the Plains of San Agustin and the Alamosa Creek Valley
figure

Since 2007, the sparsely populated San Agustin Plains has been a controversial basin: a company applied for a permit to pump 54,000 acre-feet per year and to pipe that water to a region outside of the Plains. In 2009, the neighboring watershed to the south, Alamosa Creek — the only perennial stream in the region — faced similar pressure with a mining company exploring for beryllium. In response to these pressures and questions about the hydrogeology of this area, the NM Bureau of Geology began an integrated geologic and hydrologic study of the basins in 2009.

[read more...]

Hydrologic Assessment of the Salt Basin Region in New Mexico and Texas
figure

In 2022, the NM Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources completed a multiyear study with faculty and students at New Mexico Tech, as well as researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey, on a hydrogeologic assessment of the Salt Basin region. This research project evaluated the water availability of the region by 1) filling data gaps, where there is currently little or no information about the groundwater system; 2) estimating the overall balance of water in the region including groundwater recharge, storage, evaporation and pumping; 3) updating the current hydrologic model and hydrogeologic framework; and 4) running simulations in the revised model. These efforts will help assess the ability of the region to sustain current groundwater withdrawals in the Salt Basin with implications for future development in New Mexico.

[read more...]

Hydrogeology of La Cienega
figure

Building on its basin-scale hydrogeologic studies of the Española Basin (2003-2010), the Aquifer Mapping Program continues to monitor water levels in the area for a better understanding of the groundwater contribution to the wetlands around La Cienega. This work was completed with collaboration and support from NMED, NMOSE, Santa Fe County, and USF&WS and the Healy Foundation.

[read more...]

Middle Rio Grande Operational Monitoring: San Acacia to South Fort Craig
figure

The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources with New Mexico Tech is beginning a groundwater and surface water study along the Rio Grande between San Acacia and Fort Craig. The NM Interstate Stream Commission has established a funding agreement with New Mexico Tech and the Bureau of Geology to investigate hydrologic connections among the Rio Grande, the Low Flow Conveyance Channel (LFCC), the riparian aquifer, and the riparian ecosystem along the San Acacia Reach of the Rio Grande. In particular, the project aims to understand the effects of diverting monsoon-season flood peaks from the Rio Grande into the LFCC under certain river-drying conditions.

[read more...]

Development of 3D Aquifer Maps
figure

It is surprising that New Mexico does not have a detailed map of all of the productive and accessible aquifers across the state. In a state with as little as 0.24% of our land surface covered with water (the least in the country!), having detailed maps of our groundwater resources and aquifers, is essential. Some of our neighboring states, like Texas and Colorado, have these maps already available, and are successfully being used to administer and conserve water. We have started a new multi-year project to develop 3D maps of aquifers.

[read more...]

Pecos Valley Water Data Pilot Project
figure

As part of the New Mexico Water Data Initiative, this 3-year project, cooperatively funded with the US Bureau of Reclamation's WaterSMART program, will improve water data accessiblity, efficiency of data collection and sharing, as well as developing tools to help address water management in the Pecos Valley region of southeastern New Mexico.

[read more...]