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New Mexico Science

Science, climate, weather and water from a New Mexico perspective

Drought watch: Conservancy District ratchets down deliveries

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A dry Rio Grande earlier this month (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

A dry Rio Grande earlier this month (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, which delivers water to farms from Cochiti to Elephant Butte Reservoir, has shut down deliveries to costumers of its “water bank.” The water bank makes surplus water available to farms that have no water rights of their own, primarily because they’ve been sold off to municipalities.

The shutdown notice, which went out earlier this month, means farmers on the water bank will have to do without for now, and they won’t likely see any water available unless or until it rains, MRGCD water manager David Gensler told me this morning.

“It won’t be back on until we get some rain,” Gensler said.

In the longer run, the Conservancy District’s other customers also face some risk soon. The district has water in storage to cope with the dry year on the Rio Grande, but that could run out by the first week of July, according to Gensler. After that, farmers will have to depend on “run of the river” water – whatever natural Rio Grande flow is left in this very dry year.

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