Rio Grande could reach 25 year high this spring | KOB 4

Rio Grande could reach 25 year high this spring

Eddie Garcia
March 22, 2019 06:39 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Winter storm after winter storm has stocked up New Mexico's snowpack to the brim and beyond.


Once that melts, it could mean an amazing flow through the Rio Grande according to John Fleck, director of UNM's Water Resources Program.

"We could have a great year on the Rio Grande, maybe the best year we've had in 20 to 25 years," said Fleck.

There are factors that could limit the amount of water flowing through the Rio Grande, like the soil. It is so dry from last year's drought that it's going to absorb a lot of that water like a sponge before it lets it flow down the river.

While the active winter did a lot to recede drought, some New Mexico lakes and reservoirs still need to catch up.

"The reservoirs don't have a lot of water in them so we're starting from rock bottom," said Fleck.

Another factor is the wind, which could eat away at the ample snowpack.

"It just evaporates the snow before it has a chance to melt and get into the rivers," said Fleck.

Fleck says farmers in northern New Mexico can look forward to a good irrigation season, but for those in the south, it could be delayed because of current low levels at Elephant Butte Reservoir.

"South of Elephant Butte Reservoir the pecans and chile farmers will have a much tougher year. They're not going to get irrigation water out of Elephant Butte Reservoir until early June," said Fleck.

Overall, much better news this year than we've seen in a while.


Eddie Garcia

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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