Increasing drought will leave the western US in search of water

Increasing drought will leave the western US in search of water

This April 10, 2022 photo showing sand dunes growing in the Rio Grande in northern Albuquerque, NM Irrigation districts from the Pacific Northwest to the Colorado River Basin is teaching farmers to consider the lack of water this year as the demands raised by the dry season are growing. Photo: AP Photo / Susan Montoya Bryan

The tumbleweeds are moving along the Rio Grande as sand dunes grow in its layers. Smoke from distant wildfires and dust generated by strong spring winds fill the valley, adding to the sense of danger that is beginning to weigh on residents.

One of the longest rivers in North America, the Rio Grande is a feature of a waterway in the western U.S. that has been cut off.

From the North Pacific to the Colorado River Basin, irrigation systems are urging farmers to expect less this year as demands fueled by persistent dry conditions grow. Weather experts say March marks the third straight month of rain below the U.S. average and droughts are increasing in the West.

On Friday, federal water officials are scheduled to share their annual project for Rio Grande, a major water source for millions of people and thousands of square miles of farmland in Colorado, New Mexico. , Texas and Mexico. It felt like his mind was dark.

Mark Garcia, a farmer on about 400 acres (160 acres) with his family in Valencia County, located south of Albuquerque, runs the numbers. He had a degree in mathematics and studied arithmetic for years before retiring and becoming a farmer full -time.

He knew his family would be paid for not drinking about half of his acres this year, and that more water would be left in the river to help New Mexico stop drinking. a growing debt because the state is losing its rights to produce water. in nearby Texas.

“In fact, it was like a no-brainer,” Garcia said of choosing the fallowing program. “The problem evaluation, I have to take, I have to do. I don’t want to, though.”

Increasing drought will leave the western US in search of water

This April 10, 2022 photo shows the Rio Grande flowing north of Albuquerque, NM State and local water officials encouraging some farmers to abandon irrigation plots this season to buy more. pay because they are looking to put more water in the river to meet interstate water- sharing. Photo: AP Photo / Susan Montoya Bryan

Sitting on his back in one of his gardens, Garcia began to think. He said he grew up watching his father cultivate the land.

“I was born into this,” he said. “The hard part for me is I don’t want the government to pay me not to do it. I have a problem with that.”

The state of New Mexico and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District hope farmers can make that difficult choice – at the very least to help officials fix the pending water debt.

The conservancy department, which handles irrigation from Cochiti Dam in the south to Elephant Butte Reservoir, is admitting a temporary solution.

Casey Ish, a water engineer with the district, said more than 200 irrigators have signed up, and officials are looking for farms that are less and need to rest.

“For us, there is only one tool and one way the district will try to help the state navigate the state’s fixed debt, but we don’t expect to pull a third or a half of the district in. of a program that leaves every year, ”Ish said. “It can’t continue from a price point or an ag point.”

Friday’s virtual meeting will get insights on how much the Bureau of Reclamation has been doing with this term regarding current spring water forecasts and water levels.

Increasing drought will leave the western US in search of water

This photo shows April 10, 2022 of a tumbleweed stuck in the ground in Rio Grande in Albuquerque, Federal NM officials are expected on Friday, April 14, 2022 to share their annual project for Rio Grande , one of the longest rivers in North America. Irrigation zones from the North Pacific to the Colorado River Basin are urging farmers to expect less this year as demands fueled by persistent dry conditions grow. Photo: AP Photo / Susan Montoya Bryan

With snow cover below average and reservoirs in some areas rising to lower levels, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced its monthly engineering report. fears are rising that a drought in the west will increase.

In the Colorado Valley, the U.S. Department of the Interior plans to retain water at Lake Powell to protect the Glen Canyon Dam’s ability to generate electricity amid what it says are dry conditions. most in the country in 1,200 years.

There are no known possible consequences for low -income households to see their water supply declining – California, Nevada and Arizona. But the conundrum speaks to the broad operations of Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam, and the need to pivot quickly to withstand climate change.

In the Pacific Northwest, scientists are predicting some of the driest summers in history, noting that nearly 71% of the developed land of Oregon, Washington and Idaho is dry and close to one -quarter are experiencing severe drought.

An irrigation ship supplying more than 1,000 farmers and ranchers on the California-Oregon border was announced earlier this week that they will receive a portion of their regular water supply this year due to dryness. This is the third year that the drought has affected farmers, fish and families in an area where there is not enough water to meet competitive demands.

Irrigation systems that provide water to farmers in the Rio Grande in southern New Mexico and the Pecos in the east also promise shorter seasons.

Just north of the New Mexico-Colorado border, farmers in the San Luis Valley searched for their April 1 spigots, pulling their section of the Rio Grande. Water officials in New Mexico soon noticed the drop in water levels, which meant less water was flowing to central New Mexico.


The western rivers are in the form of a dry year


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