The economy of northern Lea County is dependent upon groundwater; the only other source of water is the runoff from precipitation that is caught and retained in the man-made or natural reservoirs, where is it used for water stock. Irrigation utilizes most of the groundwater pumped; much smaller amounts are used for stock watering and industrial, public, rural and domestic supplies. In 1958, about 107,000 acre-feet of groundwater was pumped for irrigation and 19,000 acre-feet was pumped for all other uses. On the basis of present production of potable water, the economically usable supply will be depleted in certain areas within about 40 years.
Earth and Planetary Sciences
Level of Degree
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
First Committee Member (Chair)
J. Paul Fitzsimmons
Second Committee Member
Wolfgang E. Elston
Third Committee Member
Roger Y. Anderson
Groundwater Resources, Lea County, New Mexico
Ash, Sidney R.. "Geology and Ground-Water Resources of Northern Lea County, New Mexico." (1961). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/eps_etds/130
Figure 2: Topographic map of northern Lea County, N. Mex.
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Figure 10: Stratigraphic sections of the rocks exposed in Mescalero Ridge, Lea County, New Mexico
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Figure 11: Map showing contours on the post-Mesozoic erosional surface in northern Lea County, N. Mex.
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Figure 15: Map showing contours on the water table in northern Lea County, N. Mex.
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Figure 17: Map of northern Lea County, N. Mex., showing the approximate depth to water in 1952
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Figure 18: Map of northern Lea county, N. Mex., showing the saturated thickness of the formations of Cenozoic age in 1952
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Figure 20: Map of northern Lea County, N. Mex., showing the chemical quality of ground water