In 2021, GGI, a Division of GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., was hired to measure water flows in selected springs to determine the change in flow between 2009 and 2021.


Spring discharge measurements were conducted during this investigation and, when compared to earlier studies, suggests a generally declining trend in spring flows between 1972 and 2009, with this trend continuing into 2021. This apparent trend is supported by Zuni DNR research which identified numerous historically productive, although low-discharge, springs in the area that were dry during 2007-2009 site visits. For example, relatively high-volume springs (100-300 gpm) discharge from the Psg and Qal/Qb aquifers. Psg springs in the Nutria area, near the recharge source in the Zuni Mountains, exhibit a mixture of modern (<5-10-year-old) and pre-1952 recharge, indicating spring discharge from shallow and deep circulation systems near the mountain front.

Ojo Caliente Psg springs are fen-type springs that represent predominantly or entirely pre-1952 recharge. Stable isotope (δ18O and δ2H) data are consistent with high elevation, winter precipitation recharge for Nutria area Psg springs, and a lower elevation North Plains/Continental Divide recharge source southeast of the reservation for the Ojo Caliente springs.

Alluvial springs in the Black Rock area exhibit modern recharge, whereas discharge from Pescado area alluvial springs represents predominantly pre-1952 recharge. These data indicate that Pescado area springs discharge from a deeper (possibly leaky-confined) alluvial/fractured basalt flow system, whereas Black Rock alluvial springs discharge from a shallow, unconfined alluvial flow system.

Springs discharging from the Chinle and Zuni/Wingate aquifers exhibit variable recharge, with some receiving rapid recharge from winter precipitation, and others show older recharge from summer monsoons.


The team’s ability to collect data and install instrumentation to evaluate surface water flows, to collect and analyze data relating to the study of the properties, distribution, water quality and circulation of water at the land surface, within soils and underlying rock and in the atmosphere, and to conduct other studies or activities necessary or desirable to facilitate improved understanding, development, protection, and management of the water resources systems of the State.

For more information, please visit the New Mexico Geological Society through the link provided here: New Mexico Geological Society.