Last week’s soaking of eastern New Mexico raised the levels of Conchas and Ute lakes by up to 9 feet, providing relief from concerns about lake levels severely depleted by drought.
Precipitation before last week’s deluge had risen Conchas Lake’s level enough so that the Arch Hurley Conservancy District could have allocated water to its clients for the first time in two years, “but just barely,” according to district manager Franklin McCasland. The district’s board, however, decided not to allocate water, since it was too late in the season, McCasland said.
Since last Tuesday, the level of Conchas Lake has risen 9 feet, from 4,164 feet above sea level to 4,173 feet, as of Monday, according to Valerie Mavis, chief natural resources of the U.S. Army Corps of engineers. Since July, the lake level has increased almost 20 feet, Mavis said. The current level puts the lake level at 30 feet below the floodgates of the Conchas Dam. In July, the level was 51 feet below the floodgates.
At Ute Lake State Park, the water level on Sept. 9 was 3,773 feet above sea level. The level on Monday was 3,777 feet a rise of 4 feet, according to the New Mexico State Parks Department.