Rain revives Rio Grande flows - Albuquerque Journal

Rain revives Rio Grande flows

The Rio Grande flows over a diversion dam in Algodones on Aug. 5. Rains have propped up river flows in central New Mexico, but irrigation experts warn that the state is still not allowed to store water for use in the middle valley because of the state’s Rio Grande compact debt. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

What a difference the rain makes.

At the end of July, the Rio Grande ran dry in Albuquerque for the first time in nearly 40 years.

Now, the river has been revived throughout much of the city.

Jason Casuga, chief engineer and CEO for the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, said steady rains, not planned water releases, are boosting water levels.

The district manages irrigation and flood control from Cochiti Dam to Bosque del Apache.

“More than ever, the Middle Rio Grande is experiencing what it’s truly like to be a run-of-the-river system,” Casuga said.

Rio Grande flows at Central Avenue in Albuquerque dipped below measurable levels on July 25.

That location is reporting flows of 900 cubic feet per second as of Tuesday.

Fast-dropping water levels last month had disrupted irrigation deliveries to farmers, especially in the district’s southern reaches.

Now, irrigation demand is seeing an uptick after a hot and dry July, said Matt Martinez, who manages the district’s water distribution.

“We are predicting the demand to decline as forage farmers get another cutting and summer crops are harvested,” Martinez said. “Those who are considering planting in the fall will largely depend on more rainfall for successful planting.”

Still, the rains are a mixed blessing.

The more water that flows through Otowi Gage at San Ildefonso Pueblo, the more New Mexico is required to deliver to downstream users under the Rio Grande Compact. Any increase in flows could compound a hefty water debt.

New Mexico ended 2021 owing more than 41 billion gallons under that compact and that debt has already restricted the state’s ability to store or release water from upstream reservoirs.

Home » ABQnews Seeker » Rain revives Rio Grande flows


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
No limit: Channel Tres brings tour to Electric Playhouse
ABQnews Seeker
The creative process is one that ... The creative process is one that intrigues Channel Tres. 'I'm always creating and making sure family is good,' he says. 'Creating and writing is ...
2
APD investigating fatal stabbing
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police are investigating a fatal ... Albuquerque police are investigating a fatal stabbing on Sunday afternoon. Officers were called to the area of Kathryn and Maderia SE on a reported ...
3
Gov. pledges $1.1M for film school, studio in Raton
ABQnews Seeker
The film industry continues to grow ... The film industry continues to grow in New Mexico. It's always been a goal to have film facilities in every point of the state. ...
4
Longer sentences have failed to reduce violent crime
ABQnews Seeker
Spiro Agnew, who served as vice ... Spiro Agnew, who served as vice president under Richard Nixon, memorably denounced the administration's enemies for their 'pusillanimous pussyfooting on the critical issue of ...
5
Outdoor rec projects receive $2M+ in state funding
ABQnews Seeker
The New Mexico Economic Development Department's ... The New Mexico Economic Development Department's Outdoor Recreation Division handed out more than $2 million to 20 projects statewide through its Outdoor Recreation Trails+ ...
6
Rain or shine, students fight for normalcy
ABQnews Seeker
Homecoming returns after years of pandemic ... Homecoming returns after years of pandemic impacts
7
NM to be part of 'clean freight corridor'
ABQnews Seeker
Hydrogen network could power trucks throughout ... Hydrogen network could power trucks throughout Southwest
8
Judge was a 'very generous and caring person'
ABQnews Seeker
Friends and colleagues describe Judge James ... Friends and colleagues describe Judge James A. Parker as a gentleman
9
Climate-fueled wildfires worsen dangers for struggling fish
ABQnews Seeker
A summer-long mission comes to a ... A summer-long mission comes to a quick end as cutthroat trout rescued earlier this year are released into new digs