Serving the High Plains

Conchas Lake levels rise only slightly

Conchas Lake saw a mild increase in its levels during the past month, but not enough for the Arch Hurley Conservancy District’s board of directors to allocate water.

District manager Franklin McCasland reported during the board’s May 9 meeting the elevation of Conchas Lake reached 4,162.7 feet that morning, nearly a foot higher than the previous month.

The district typically needs the lake to reach 4,174 feet before it can release water from the lake into its canals.

The lake received 3,246 acre-feet of inflow during April, with 2,224 acre-feet in evaporation and other losses.

McCasland reported last month the Canadian River Basin that feeds the lake experienced only modestly higher snowpack than average.

“All the inflow into Conchas Lake this spring has come from the Mora River and its tributaries,” McCasland wrote in his manager’s report last week. “There has been no inflow from the Taylor Springs Gauge Station just below Springer. The spring runoff from this year’s snowpack on the Cimarron River is being stored at Eagle Nest Lake.”

The board voted during the meeting to not allocate water, and it faces the prospect of a third consecutive growing season without water in its canals due to persistent drought.

Though dry conditions have eased in the western half of New Mexico, much of the eastern half remains in moderate, severe or extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor map of May 11.

In other business, the board approved a resolution for its election plans.

The resolution states the board will call an election for Precincts 1, 2 and 3 on Oct. 10, with early voting from Sept. 19 through Oct. 6. Absentee ballots may be requested no later than Oct. 3.

The deadline for candidates to file for election is July 28.

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