List of Rio Grande dams and diversions

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Rio Grande and Pecos watershed showing dams and diversions

Rio Grande dams and diversions are structures that store water along the Rio Grande or its tributaries, or that divert water for use in irrigation. The first diversions were made by the Pueblo Indians over 1,000 years ago. More permanent diversions were built by the Spanish in New Mexico to feed acequias, or shared irrigation canals.[1] The first dam to impound the Rio Grande was the Rio Grande Dam, completed in 1914, followed by the Elephant Butte Dam, completed in 1916.


Several major projects have undertaken construction of dams and diversion in the Rio Grande basin.

The Rio Grande Project built the Elephant Butte Dam and the Caballo Dam. A number of diversion dams were also constructed in this project, including the Leasburg, Percha, Mesilla, American and Riverside diversion dams.[2] The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District built El Vado Dam and the Angostura, Isleta and San Acacia diversion dams. Rehabilitation of these dams, and construction of the Cochiti Dam were undertaken by the Middle Rio Grande Project.[1] The San Juan-Chama Project brings water to the Rio Grande basin from the Colorado River Basin, building the Heron Dam to store some of the water, with an expansion of the El Vado Dam storing some of the remainder. The Closed Basin Project extracts groundwater from the San Luis Valley and delivers it into the Rio Grande.

Pecos River[edit]

The Pecos River is the largest tributary of the Rio Grande, and several dams have been built along it. These include the Sumner Dam, Santa Rosa Dam, Brantley Dam, Avalon Dam and Red Bluff Dam.

List of structures[edit]

Structures include:[3]

Name Complete Owner Capacity Location
Closed Basin Project early 1990s Bureau of Reclamation 25,000 acre-feet annually Field of salvage wells in the San Luis Valley, Colorado
Rio Grande Dam and Reservoir 1914 San Luis Valley Irrigation District 52,000 acre-feet Near Creede, Colorado
Platoro Dam and Reservoir 1951 Bureau of Reclamation 59,570 acre-feet Conejos River, Colorado
Heron Dam and Reservoir 1971 Bureau of Reclamation 399,980 acre-feet Willow Creek at confluence with the Rio Chama
El Vado Dam and Reservoir 1935 Bureau of Reclamation 195,440 acre-feet Rio Chama, New Mexico
Abiquiu Dam and Reservoir 1963 Corps of Engineers 1,192,800 acre-feet Rio Chama, New Mexico
Cochiti Dam and Cochiti Lake 1973 Corps of Engineers 582,019 acre-feet Sandoval County, New Mexico
Galisteo Dam and Reservoir 1970 Corps of Engineers 88,900 acre-feet Galisteo Creek, New Mexico near confluence with the Middle Rio Grande
Jemez Canyon Dam and Reservoir 1953 Corps of Engineers 102,700 acre-feet Confluence of Jemez River and the Middle Rio Grande, New Mexico
Angostura Diversion Dam 1934 MRGCD 650 cfs diversion Middle Rio Grande, 5 miles upstream of Bernalillo, New Mexico
Isleta Diversion Dam 1934 MRGCD 1,070 cfs diversion Middle Rio Grande, 13 mi south of Albuquerque, New Mexico
San Acacia Diversion Dam 1934 MRGCD 283 cfs diversion Middle Rio Grande at San Acacia, New Mexico
Elephant Butte Dam and Reservoir 1916 Bureau of Reclamation 2,065,010 acre feet Middle Rio Grande, 3.75 miles east of Truth or Consequences
Caballo Dam and Reservoir 1938 Bureau of Reclamation 331,510 acre-feet Rio Grande, 17 miles downstream from Elephant Butte Dam
Percha Diversion Dam 1918 Bureau of Reclamation 350 cu ft/s diversion 1 mile (1.6 km) west of the Caballo Dam
Leasburg Diversion Dam 1907 Bureau of Reclamation Rio Grande, 5 miles northwest of Las Cruces, New Mexico
Mesilla Diversion Dam 1916 Bureau of Reclamation 950 cu ft/s diversion 40 miles (64 km) upstream of El Paso
American Diversion Dam 1938 International Boundary &
Water Commission
1,200 cu ft/s diversion 3.5 miles upstream from El Paso, Texas
International Diversion Dam 1918 International Boundary &
Water Commission
60,000 acre feet / year 2 miles downstream from American Dam
Riverside Diversion Dam 1928 International Boundary &
Water Commission
900 cu ft/sec diversion 14 miles downstream from American Dam
Amistad Dam 1968 International Boundary &
Water Commission
5,100,000 acre-feet Confluence of the Rio Grande and the Pecos River, Texas
Falcon Dam 1954 International Boundary &
Water Commission
3,200,000 acre-feet Between Starr County, Texas and Nueva Ciudad Guerrero, Tamaulipas




  • "Dams and Diversions Along the Rio Grande". United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Archived from the original on 2012-06-17. Retrieved 2012-10-06.
  • "Middle Rio Grande Project". US Bureau of Reclamation. Archived from the original on 2012-10-03. Retrieved 2012-10-06.
  • "Rio Grande Project". US Bureau of Reclamation. Retrieved 2012-10-06.