The last post was my first “reblog”. Thanks to Andrea of “bare feet in the sand” for bringing it to my attention. I’m going to expand on the “New Mexico is the driest of the dry” a bit. I’ve come upon some other articles that caught my attention. One is called, “New Mexico’s Elephant Butte Reservoir Dries Up“. You can see before and after pictures in the article here.
“The reservoir is located along the Rio Grande River, which is so exceptionally dry that one local paper dubbed it the “Rio Sand.” This year, the river experienced its shortest irrigation season in recorded history, ending just a month and a half after it started. Alberquerque has imposed water use limits on its residents, and El Paso, which gets half its water from Elephant Butte, has been urging its residents since May to use less water. In the meantime, the city is relying on a desalinization plant to get water to its residents. Desalination plants are primarily used for seawater in coastal areas.
The effects of the drought go past residential water needs, however. The low water levels in the Rio Grande have strained the river’s fish and mollusks, with scientists scrambling to save as many endangered Rio Grande silvery minnows as possible from the drying river. The species is doing worse now than it did when conservation efforts began ten years ago, in part due to the drought. Grass has dried up and hay prices have skyrocketed, forcing ranchers to sell their cattle, which in turn has helped shrink the U.S. cattle herd to the smallest it’s been in at least four decades. Pecan and chile growers, too, are having trouble irrigating their crops, with some pecan growers trimming their trees to the trunks and drilling new wells in an attempt to draw more water.”
Another article on the Elephant Butte Reservoir can be found here on Grist.
Ironically some New Mexico farmers are selling their water to the oil and gas industry for fracking. They are draining the aquifer to do this.
“The bad news is that the terrible drought in New Mexico has led some farmers to sell their water to the oil and gas industry. The worse news is that many of them are actually pumping the water out of the aquifer to do so.
The worst news of all is that once the frackers get through tainting it with their witches’ brew of chemicals, that water often becomes unrecoverable — and then we have the possibility the used fracking water will end up contaminating even more of the groundwater.”
You can read the article here.