Water Resources Professional Project Reports


James R. Dyer

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The Jemez River, lies within the Valles Caldera and Jemez Mountains, which is located in North Central New Mexico. In the study area, numerous geothermal springs discharge into the Jemez River. A base line water quality study was conducted to determine salt and metal loading effects of spring inputs. Ten sites along a 25-km reach of the river through San Diego Canyon were sampled for major and selected trace element concentrations to evaluate water quality. The Jemez River and geothermal springs were sampled under summer and baseflow conditions in 2006. Hydrothermal water chemistry data collected in the study are consistent with earlier reports of Trainer, 1984, Goff, 1994; Goff and Shevenell, 1987. Hydrothermal inputs examined include Soda Dam, Jemez Springs, and Indian Springs. Jemez River water displays a consistent increase in total dissolved solids (TDS) and metals reflecting significant geothermal inputs between San Antonio Creek and the confluence with the Guadalupe River, and reflecting mixing of a low TDS calcium, magnesium-bicarbonate water with a high TDS sodium chloride water. The Guadalupe River dilutes these contributions; however, concentrations again increase along the Jemez River between the Guadalupe and San Ysidro. Loading calculations for TDS and arsenic under a variety of flow regimes typical of the Jemez River indicate that the allowable limits are exceeded for these parameters between Soda Dam and the Guadalupe River beginning at discharges below 27.5 ft3/sec as measured at the USGS gauging station near Jemez Springs. In 2006, flows were below this threshold value for many days.

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Jemez River, Valles Caldera, geothermal springs, water quality


A Professional Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Water Resources, University of New Mexico.