The Elephant Butte Irrigation District directors say the 2011 irrigation season will start May 31 for farmers in the Hatch, Rincon and Mesilla Valleys of southern New Mexico.
This year’s irrigation allotment will begin with 4 acre-inches of water, based on what the district has stored in Elephant Butte Lake.
In normal years, farmers in the district receive around 2 acre-foot of water. An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons, enough to meet the annual water needs of one to two U.S. households.
District officials blame a lingering drought, and say the spring runoff is still uncertain.
They say the irrigation district cannot allot one drop more until it reaches the reservoir.
However, irrigation district manager Gary Esslinger says it’s possible the 2011 allotment to farmers could increase over the summer.