Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Abdoul Oubeidillah

Second Advisor

Dr. Jong-Min Kim

Third Advisor

Dr. Chu-Lin Cheng


The Rio Grande River is a major water source for people living within the USA-Mexico border. The Rio Grande River has its headwaters in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado and the Sierra Madre Occidental in Mexico before flowing into Texas through El-Paso. The water supply issues facing the Lower Rio Grande Basin (LRGB) are extremely complex from international restrictions to severe climate change. The river shares its flow between the U.S.A and Mexico based on the provisions of the 1944 treaty between the U.S.A and Mexico. The LRGB flow is regulated by releases from Falcon and Amistad Reservoirs managed by the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC).

The rapid increase in population and agricultural activities coupled with the recent droughts conditions has greatly impacted the water supply in the region leading to water demands being unmet. This research uses tree ring chronologies obtained from the International Tree Ring Data Bank (ITRDB) combined with naturalized streamflow data from United States Geological Survey (USGS) streamflow for 8 gages within the Lower Rio Grande Basin to develop historical streamflow reconstructions in the Lower Rio Grande Basin starting from the year 1613. Various prescreening methods used including date screen, correlation coefficient, and cross-validation methods were used to develop reliable reconstructions. Stepwise regression method was used to reconstruct streamflow. Three of the eight streamflow stations identified were considered statistically skillful (R2≥ 0.40) and selected for reconstruction. The streamflow reconstructions at Devils River at Pafford, Texas, Pecos River Nr Pecos, Texas, and Rio Ruidoso River at Hollywood, New Mexico explained 44% -67% of the variance with the January-February-March streamflow. The result revealed several periods of extreme wet and dry periods in the past centuries, and these were compared with extreme (wet and dry) patterns in the 20th century. This research aims to provide water managers with an excellent starting point to analyze future patterns of extreme streamflow.


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