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New Mexico Science

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

New Mexico snowpack tanking, but the river’s not rising

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After a week’s “vacation” (see here for my an example of my vacation adventures), my weekly New Mexico water supply checks today were particularly grim. Snowpack is dwindling, but the river’s aren’t coming up in response:

New Mexico snowpack, percent of 1981-2000 median, courtesy NRCS

New Mexico snowpack, percent of 1981-2000 median, courtesy NRCS

Here’s the current flow on the Rio Grande at Otowi, between Santa Fe and Los Alamos:

Flow for the last month at Otowi, courtesy USGS

Flow for the last month at Otowi, courtesy USGS

In a typical year, the river starts rising in the first couple of weeks of March. But this year, you can see that it’s been flat-lined.

I’ll have a story later in the week on what this means for water supply, but the short version is that, for the major Rio Grande farm districts that depend on river water for irrigation, this is grim stuff.

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