ELEPHANT BUTTE, New Mexico -- The Elephant Butte Irrigation District said the area could see the driest water year since 2013, having a large impact on farmers in southern New Mexico.
The low water levels means farmers will have less water for their crops. The Elephant Butte Irrigation District said in 2020 the snowpack runoff was 15% of its average, requiring the district to dip into surplus water.
The very low starting reservoir storage means that it's certain EBID will have a late start to the surface water season. Officials said it it means this year will have an irrigation season running from June 1 to possibly July 1, with an allotment of maybe 4 inches.
"We're going to ask that the farmers put the water orders in, be ready for it when we call," Gary Esslinger with the Elephant Butte Irrigation District said.
The district has compared conditions to 2013, which saw an allotment of 3.5 inches with water released from Caballo Dam for just 47 days. The low allotment and brief season will force the region's farmers to possibly make painful choices which could include reducing crops or relying on pumped groundwater which may be damaging for some crops.