Rio Grande Basin: Aquifer recharge underway

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From the Valley Courier (Ruth Heide):

Colorado Division of Water Resources Division III Division Engineer Craig Cotten explained that the currently low water levels in the river are the result of recharge diversions this fall…

“We are still diverting some water in some ditches,” Cotten said on Tuesday. He clarified that the water being diverted now is solely in ditches that are able to take water for recharge. Those diversions will end in about a week, at the end of November. The Rio Grande will then begin to show higher levels…

One of the reasons for the recharge diversions this fall was expressly to reduce the amount of water that will be over delivered downstream as part of the interstate Rio Grande Compact, Cotten explained…

If the water division had not allowed more water to be diverted in the Valley, Colorado would have ended the year with a higher over-delivery downriver. Water delivered over the amount obligated through the Rio Grande Compact would be stored in the Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico where it would remain as “credit” water for Colorado. “We do lose some for evaporation,” Cotten explained. That would be like putting money in savings but having less in the account when the depositor was ready to draw the money back out. “We think it is better to keep the water up here and recharge the aquifers,” Cotten said.

More Rio Grande Basin coverage here.

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