Block release of water from Santa Rosa Reservoir scheduled to begin June 22, 2022

Posted on June 22, 2022

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Albuquerque District announced today that it has scheduled a block release of water from Santa Rosa Lake to start Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at 8:00 am.

The Bureau of Reclamation, acting on the behalf of Carlsbad Irrigation District, requested the 14,500 acre-feet release. Carlsbad Irrigation District owns the irrigation water that makes up all of the water stored in Santa Rosa Lake.

The block release from Santa Rosa Lake is scheduled to last until June 29, 2022, to transfer water to Sumner Lake.

“The final date and time for the end of the release will depend on when the full release of 14,500 acre-feet is complete, or if Bureau of Reclamation requests an earlier stop to retain more storage in Santa Rosa Lake,” said Carlos Aragon, Pecos and Arkansas River Basin Manager in the USACE-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 4713.9 feet, or approximately 16,470 acre-feet of storage. At the end of the release, the lake’s elevation is estimated to be at 4686.7 feet, or approximately 1,700 acre-feet of storage. This equates to about a 27-feet drop in lake elevation during the block release. The final drop in elevation depends on the actual inflows into the lake and the final release volume.

At the end of the release, it is expected that there could be as little as 229 surface acres of lake available for fishing and recreation. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and New Mexico State Parks have been notified so that they can make determinations on the management of recreation and the lake’s fishery.

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.

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