Conditions at New Mexico sailing lakes as of Monday, November 7:
Elephant Butte Lake, elevation 4,327.36', 354,607 acre feet,
up 3.6 inches and 3,228 a.f. in 72 hours, no significant discharge. (4 cfs)
The lake is rising.
It has about 10,750 surface acres or 17 square miles, has an average depth of about 33 feet, and is about 17 per cent full.
Elephant Butte Lake reached its low point for the season between 7:00 and 9:00 AM on Tuesday, October 11, 2005, at an elevation of 4,325.28', 332,602 acre feet. On the morning of Oct. 11, the discharge rate was 960 c.f.s. at 0800, 281 c.f.s. at 0900, 125 c.f.s. at 1000, and 68 c.f.s. at 1100.
It has since risen 25 inches and 22,005 acre feet in 27 days.
Great caution is still advised for any shallow-draft boats attempting to navigate around the west side of Rattlesnake Island or the east side of the Elephant. Horse Island may just barely be an island now but may not be circumnavigable until mid-December.
Other New Mexico Lakes used by sailors:
El Vado Lake, elev. 6,874.36', 109,633 acre feet, up about 3 inches in a week
Abiquiu Lake, elev. 6,200.62', 113,735 acre feet, up about a foot.
Cochiti Lake, elev. 5,339.47', 48,259 acre feet, up about 3 inches in a week.
Heron Lake, New Mexico (New Mexico Sailing Club) on Monday, November 7, was at elevation of 7152.01 feet with 228,131 acre feet in storage. The New Mexico Sailing Club marina is closed for the season and will most likely re-open around late April of 2006.
Heron Lake has started its fall discharge, losing 4 inches and 1464 acre feet in 72 hours, and losing 9.6 inches and about 3,442 acre feet in the last week because of discharge (maybe 3,800 a.f. plus maybe 100 a.f. of evaporation) outpacing a bit of water (about 500 a.f.) still arriving in the lake.
The lake is about 17 inches below this summer's highest elevation after rising to within 3 inches of the summer peak in October. (This year's peak was about 7153.41', 234,174 acre feet. 400,000 acre feet at about 7,184' is considered full, spillway would be at 7,186' and about 410,000 a.f.).
Contractors have already taken about 19,000 acre feet of water [mostly Middle Rio Grande Conservancy, probably some Cochiti and City of Santa Fe, and now probably Albuquerque and other contractors], out of the lake this season, so only about 78,000 a.f. remains to be taken out.) Willow Creek has been flowing at variable rates of 20 to 50 cubic feet per second, rising during rainy periods.
As of Sunday, Oct. 30, only 1 boat remained in the marina (MacGregor with AZ registration number). The marina is closed and de-commissioned for winter. Dinghies and picnic tables are stacked; books, fire extinguishers, and bbq grills have been removed.
Now is the time to expect rapid changes in the lake level, as this November is when Albuquerque and other contractors take most of their water. This doesn't change the prediction for this winter/early spring 2006's low ebb of about 4.7 to 4.9 feet of water in Willow Creek Cove, if the contractors remove all their 2005 allocation before we get any 2006 runoff. (The contractors must either use their water in 2005 or else call for it by December 31st in order not to lose it.)