Thursday, July 27, 2006

Preparations and Conditions

We have a condo for next week just about a block from the Dillon Marina, a slip for Black Magic, and have registered for the regatta. Carol Anne has painted the boat trailer and is busy shopping and packing. After tonight's sailing club social, Tadpole and I will join her. If all goes well, by this time tomorrow we'll be surrounded by 14,000-foot mountain peaks and well on our way. With luck, we'll be doing our bit to contribute to the madness that is the largest sailing regatta/party in the Rockies. Dillon's 3800 surface acres will see up to a 120 keelboats and who knows how many dinghies milling about in the chilly mountain waters.

Carol Anne will in all likelihood be sailing the only Etchells at Dillon; it's even possible that hers might be the first Etchells to sail in Colorado, either ever or at least in recent memory. So, her sleek boat may get at least its share of attention.

Dillon Lake is nearly full to the brim, which is good. However, lake conditions in New Mexico are a bit different.

Elephant Butte Lake in southern New Mexico is in an area hard-hit by drought. At elevation of 4309.02 feet above benchmark and with 187,653 acre-feet of water, the Butte has lost 8,124 a.f. in 13.2 inches of elevation in the past 72 hours. Water is flowing out at 1930 cubic feet per second but inflow is less; the San Marcial Conveyance is at 90 c.f.s. (34 minimum, 133 maximum in past 72 hours), the San Marcial Floodway is at 43 c.f.s. (32, 62). Perhaps one good bit of news is that, with the lake lowering, customers of the Rock Canyon Marina (now near the dam) will soon be able to use the gangway and lower parking lot, instead of a shuttle boat.

At capacity, the Butte holds close to 2,000,000 a.f. and is New Mexico's largest lake. This spring, the lake had 400 - 500 k.a.f. and sailors could go all the way up to the Monticello ramp. Probably about half the remaining water will go out before the lake begins to rise again early in the fall. The Monticello ramp is closed. The Rock Canyon ramp was nominally open as of 7/17 but not usable by keel boats; the concrete ramp extended 20 feet into the water as of last Saturday but as of today is out of the water entirely (update courtesy of Sailor Stan).

By the amount of water in storage, Elephant Butte is now New Mexico's fourth largest lake, behind Navajo (a portion of which is in Colorado), Heron (now the largest lake entirely within New Mexico), and Ute Lakes.

Cochiti Lake, 49,216 a.f., up 729 a.f., water flowing out at 614 c.f.s.
Abiquiu Lake, 152,908 a.f., down 737 a.f., water flowing out at 566 c.f.s.
El Vado Lake, 57,426 a.f., down 3,036 a.f., 510 c.f.s. outflow.

Heron Lake, 7143.55 feet elevation, 193,658 a.f. It is down 1/4 inch and 78 acre feet in 72 hours (due to evaporation) but has been almost at a constant level for the past month. The Azotea Tunnel (11 c.f.s. now, 6 minimum in past 72 hours) and Willow Creek (5 c.f.s. now, briefly a 66 c.f.s. maximum) are flowing minimally. The Chama River also has light flow (21 c.f.s., 28 max., 16 min.) All ramps and facilities are usable at Heron Lake; marina slips can be rented by the day, month, or for the remainder of the season.

Other Lakes
Navajo, 1,428,373 a.f., down 3,637 a.f. in 72 hours. Navajo, on the NM-CO border, has more water than all the rest of NM's lakes combined (even after subtracting the water that's on the Colorado side).
Eagle Nest, 33,583 a.f., down 116 a.f.
Conchas, 118,400 a.f., down 906 a.f.
Santa Rosa, 28,326 a.f., down 64 a.f.
Sumner Lake, 13,429 a.f., down 382 a.f.
Brantley, 15,491 a.f., down 1104 a.f.
Ute, 189,000 a.f., 3783.19 elevation (7/27 3 p.m.)

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At 4:19 PM, July 27, 2006, Blogger Pat said...

Update courtesy of sailor Stan:
As of this morning, the Rock Canyon boat ramp at Elephant Butte Lake is completely out of the water. (Five days ago, 20 feet of ramp was in the water.)


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