New Mexico’s major river is the Río Grande, originating in southern Colorado, and flowing southward for 760 km (470 mi) through the state. Between the San Luis Valley and Española Valley the river flows in a deep canyon known as the Río Grande Gorge; then, below White Rock Canyon, it flows through several valleys containing agricultural land. Most of the water of the Río Grande is used to irrigate these valleys. The Río Grande’s waterflow in New Mexico is extremely low.
One of the major tributaries of the Río Grande is the Pecos River, which rises in northern New Mexico and joins the Río Grande in Texas. Other tributaries of the Río Grande in New Mexico are the Rio Puerco, Galisteo Creek, Rio Chama, and Red River.
The Continental Divide, made up of ridges and other high ground separating rivers draining to the Atlantic from those draining to the Pacific, crosses the state from north to south. The Canadian River runs eastward from New Mexico to join the Arkansas River. The San Juan and Gila rivers flow westward to join the Colorado River. Most of the state is drained by dry washes, called arroyos, which after summer thunderstorms can carry large amounts of water, causing flash floods.
The largest bodies of water in New Mexico are reservoirs built to irrigate the dry lands. These include Elephant Butte and Caballo reservoirs, and Cochiti Lake on the Río Grande; Conchas Lake and Ute Reservoir on the Canadian River; Navajo Reservoir on the San Juan River; Abiquiu and El Vado reservoirs on the Rio Chama; and Lake McMillan on the Pecos River. In the Sangre de Cristo Mountains are numerous small glacial lakes, mostly at elevations above 3,300 m (11,000 ft). "New Mexico" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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