The Elephant Butte Irrigation District is ending deliveries for the season

Elephant Butte Reservoir back in the day nearly full

From The Las Cruces Sun-News (Diana Alba Soular):

Irrigation officials already have begun dialing back on the water flow coming from two upstream reservoirs because the Las Cruces-based Elephant Butte Irrigation District ended its water-delivery season Sept. 30.

There’s still some water continuing to flow in the Rio Grande near Las Cruces because El Paso irrigators are continuing to use water. But that flow is set to end within the next week, officials said.

“Down here, it’s mostly pecan orchards watering their trees one last time — and some alfalfa,” said Jesus “Chuy” Reyes, general manager for the El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1. “We’ll be winding up between the 15th and the 18th of this month.”

At that point, after the dam at Caballo Reservoir is shut down, Las Crucens can expect to see the Rio Grande dry. Barring any large rain storms that create significant run-off, the riverbed will stay mostly dry until late next winter or early next spring, when farmers from Doña Ana County, El Paso and Mexico begin watering their crops for 2018…

Irrigators are winding down what has been a bumper water year in comparison to recent drought years. Strong water run-off from the mountains of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado fed into Elephant Butte Lake and Caballo Reservoir. Farmers locally were allotted 24-acre-inches — or 2 acre-feet — per irrigable acre. That was the most water since 2010, when Elephant Butte Irrigation District farmers received the same amount…

The bigger water allotment this year and a strong summer monsoon rainy season, which cuts down on crop water demand, helped the length of the EBID irrigation season stretch into October, said James Narvaez, district irrigation systems director…

There’s roughly 250,000 acre-feet left in storage in the two reservoirs, Narvaez said. The amount, which also has to be finalized, is about double what it was a year ago.

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