Dona Ana County farmers brace for low water year

dry plants

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) – Farmers in Dona Ana County are preparing for another short river water year in 2017.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that key water storage reservoirs such as Elephant Butte Lake and Caballo Reservoir have low levels, meaning farmers will have to rely on snowmelt runoff next spring in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.

Snowmelt isn’t looking promising either, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts warm weather and low precipitation over the next 90 days in those areas.

Dona Ana County Farmers were allocated about 13 acre-inches per-acre of Rio Grande water in 2016. The district considers a full allotment to be 3 acre feet but that hasn’t happened in years. Water district officials say it is unlikely to occur next year.

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