Some New Mexico farms apply for pilot project to save water

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — More than two dozen farms in southern New Mexico have applied for a program that will pay them not to plant their fields as water managers look for new ways to stretch resources in the drought-stricken state.

It’s the first phase of a multiyear pilot project.

Lawmakers approved funding for the effort last year.

Climatologists say the lower Rio Grande Valley has received little rain since the start of the year, and there’s no extra water in upstream reservoirs.

New Mexico and the rest of the southwestern U.S. are dealing with extreme and exceptional drought conditions.