Western Rivers Face Pinch As Another Dry Year Takes Shape

Apr 2, 2021

As several states in the American West face intense drought, water managers say it's shaping up to be a very difficult year for New Mexico farmers because of limited irrigation supplies. 

This March 28, 2021 image shows tumbleweeds covering a sandbar along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque, N.M. Like elsewhere in the southwestern U.S., water managers in New Mexico are warning farmers that demand is expected to outpace supply this year due to limited winter snowpack and spring runoff.
Credit AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan


Officials with major irrigation districts along the Rio Grande say snowpack and precipitation are below average, spring runoff is trailing and there's no extra water in the state's reservoirs. It's no different elsewhere in the West. The district that provides water to Indigenous communities and farmers on part of the Rio Grande says it hasn't been in a position like this since the 1950s. In southern New Mexico, growers are being told to prepare for a short irrigation season.