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New Mexico Science

Science, climate, weather and water from a New Mexico perspective

Cochiti Reservoir releases underway

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Federal water managers today began releasing September storm water from Cochiti Reservoir after clearing a “plug” of storm debris from the Rio Grande left by last month’s high flows.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had been holding the water from September’s storms in the  flood control dam while crews worked on the plug. It didn’t dam the river completely, allowing modest flows, but officials were concerned about the river channel’s ability to handle the higher flows needed to drain the reservoir. Some water was allowed through Cohciti, but the bulk of the storm water was retained while the problem was addressed.

Crews from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation last week finished cutting a channel through the plug, and increased releases began this morning, according to Bureau water manager Carolyn Donnelly. The water should stay well within the river’s banks, and no flooding is anticipated. Albuquerque residents should see rising river flows by tomorrow, Donnelly said.

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