LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A sharp increase in groundwater pumping from aquifers that also supply water for Las Cruces is drawing concerns from state and city officials.
State Engineer Scott Verhines told the Las Cruces Sun-News on Thursday the use of groundwater for crop irrigation has spiked since a drought intensified last year.
He says records show nearly 280,000 acre-feet of water was pumped for irrigation into the Lower Rio Grande Basin last year. That is double from the previous year.
Verhines says this trend is not sustainable. His office has warned farmers in Dona Ana County not to exceed the cap on water use.
Some irrigation officials and farmers are questioning his statistics. They say they will conduct their own analysis on use of the aquifer.