National Water Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA): Rio Grande Valley Study
RIO GRANDE NAWQA
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Rio Grande Valley National Water Quality Study
The Rio Grande valley in New Mexico and Colorado is one of the 59 study units that are part of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program. The long-term goals of this program are to describe the status and trends in the quality of a large, representative part of the Nation's surface water and groundwater resources, and to provide a sound, scientific understanding of the primary factors affecting the quality of these resources.
The Rio Grande Valley study unit includes parts of Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas, and is one of the more geographically diverse NAWQA study units, with climate ranging from alpine tundra to Chihuahuan Desert. The headwaters of the Rio Grande originate in the mountains of southern Colorado at an altitude of over 13,000 feet. At the lower end of the study area, just above El Paso, Texas, the altitude is less than 4,000 feet. Mean annual precipitation ranges from greater than 50 inches per year in the Colorado mountains to less than 6 inches per year south of Albuquerque. Additional information is available in published reports.