Irrigation Districts Plan for Another Dry Year as Drought Mars Rio Grande

Water districts in El Paso and southern New Mexico will start releasing irrigation water in June, as drought continues to pummel the Rio Grande Basin.

Elephant Butte Reservoir will open its gates June 1, releasing water for southern New Mexico, far west Texas and Mexico. The Elephant Butte Irrigation District (EBID) announced April 22 an allotment of 5 inches of water per acre, a far cry from the full allotment of 36 inches. El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1 (EPCWID1) has yet to announce its allotments but manager Jesús Reyes estimated it will be 18 inches of water per acre.

“(18 inches) is about what we had last year,” Reyes said. “We try and conserve as much as we can because we’ve been in and out of drought for 20 years.”