Water Management

Living in the high desert of New Mexico one would suppose that water management would not be high on the list of priorities but in reality water management issues are always a concern.  With only 2 periods of rain every year, the winter rains and summer monsoons, the area can receive a significant amount of rainfall in a short period of time.  On rangeland with sufficient grasses the water is slowed and while the occasional flash flood may occur it is heavily utilized rangeland where most problems develop.  On the main estate at the Painted Pony Resort water management has always been a priority and as a result the 4+ inches of rain received this fall from the remnants of hurricane Odile did little damage.  With this years expansion of the estate further east some of the new water problems are being addressed.  About 2 years ago the road across the riverbed at the north end of the estate, which drains the Peloncillo mountains, began to receive runoff and the road quickly deteriorated with a 3-4' gully forming down the middle. This was the result of a major arroyo changing course after filling in its' old route.  With the movement to the south the ranch road was the  easiest route for the water resulting in the rapid down cutting of the ranch road.  If the arroyo could be persuaded to instead move north all the road problems would be solved.  Fortunately, the owner is currently in residence and enjoys running the tractor and road grader.  So he created several diversions in the arroyo, kicking the flow back north expanding and enlarging my earlier efforts.  The results are that the water flow will move back north and hopefully refill an existing cattle tank on the neighbors property (which was fed by this arroyo) and the old channel will provide a source of sand and gravel for the roads around the estate.

Looking east up the heavily eroded ranch road.
Looking west at the first diversion above the eroded area shown in the first photograph.

Looking northwest at the main diversion channel in the old arroyo.
Looking east up the arroyo.


  1. Bless those with road equipment who have worked on the roads! I was on Eagle Ridge and Cielo Vista yesterday and Eagle Ridge was very scary to me! I got there by way of Zent Road which also had been repaired a bit with a lane that was driveable next to something that was a damaged wash from Odile, very scary also. [looked like your FIRST photo!] I was really sweaty by the time I got where I was going!

  2. Drive carefully, getting around should not be a scary experience. Getting the grader up and running for the owner is always an experience. I always have to re-inflate tires after adding slime and the battery is always dead, so I end up spending a day just getting equipment running. But with 3 miles of dirt road to maintain it is worth it.