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[Land and Water Measurements]

Land & Water Measurements and Livestock Consumption


  • The area covered by one acre is roughly the same as the area of a football field (actually, about 90 yards of a football field).
  • A square acre is about 208 feet long on each side (208.71 feet).  Acres do not have to be square.
  • An acre is 43,560 square feet in size.
  • One section is equal to 640 acres.  A square section is one mile long on each side.
  • A township is six miles long on each side, and about 23,040 acres.
  • One hectare, which is a common land measurement used in many countries, and sometimes in old New Mexico land deeds, is 2.47 acres.

Survey Measurements on Older Maps, Surveys, and Deeds:

  • A chain is 66 feet.
  • A rod is 16.5 feet. Thus, four rods equal one chain.

Water Volumes and Weights:

  • A gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds.  A 250 gallon tank of water weighs 2,085 pounds.
  • One gallon is 3.785 liters.
  • One cubic foot of water is 7.48 gallons.
  • A cubic foot of water weighs 62.4 pounds.
  • One acre foot of water is the same as 90 yards of a football field covered one foot deep.
  • An acre foot of water contains 325,851 gallons.


  • One cubic foot per second (CFS) is a flow measurement that means one cubic foot of water flowing past a specific point.
  • A flow of one CFS is the same as 448 gallons per minute (GPM).
  • A flow of one CFS for 24 hours would amount to 646,272 gallons, or 1.983 acre feet (AF).
  • A flow of one CFS for one year would amount to 724 AF.
  • A flow of one CFS is the same as a flow of 50 "miner's inches," according to state law in Utah and New Mexico. The same flow of one CFS is considered 40 miner's inches under Arizona law.
  • Since 1980, minimum and maximum flows of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon have been about 2,500 CFS and 100,000 CFS, respectively.
  • One million gallons is the same as 3.07 AF.
  • A flow of 1,000 gpm is the same as 2.23 CFS.
  • The average single-family home (4-5 people) served by NTUA consumes 350 gallons per day, or about 127,750 gallons per year, or about 4/10 of an acre foot. (For comparison, urban consumption rates in areas like Phoenix and Albuquerque can be as high as 1,000 gallons per day.)  Also, a rough average NTUA household consumption rate in summer is 12,500 gallons per month, and winter is 8,700 gallons per month.  (Courtesy of Chrys Uhlig, former NTUA water engineer.)
  • A reasonable minimum flow rate necessary for a domestic well, to serve a single-family residence, is 5 GPM.  Wells that produce less than this flow rate will often require a storage tank to help serve the home.

Livestock Daily Consumption Rates (Approximate).
[Source: Stoddard & Smith. Range Management, 2nd ed.]

  • Horses. About 12 gallons of water per day per horse for adult range horses.
  • Cattle. About 10 gallons per day per adult cow.
  • Sheep. About 1 gallon per day per adult sheep.