Elephant Butte Reservoir, New Mexico’s largest, was at 38 percent of average March 1. This is a reminder of the significance of both decadal-scale climate variability (a huge wet year last year didn’t alleviate the problem) and growing human withdrawls from the system (there are more people here now than there used to be).
He says the Gila’s at 30 percent of normal, which is not good news. I wonder where I can find info on Lake Roberts and Bill Evans, or if that data is even tracked.
One thing Fleck mentions, and that I find interesting, was something I picked up at the Water Plan meeting last Thursday. Somebody asked about irrigation, and the hydrologist, Dave Romero, said agriculture is by far the biggest use of water in the state. Which makes sense: it’s a big business, especially in southern New Mexico, and farmers, pecan growers and vintners need the H2O. Still, with less water and more users, one has to wonder when something’s going to give.
Anyhoo, Fleck says the West may be trending in an interesting way:
You can see from the map a pretty clear La Nina pattern, dry in the south and wet in the north, though that may just be dumb luck rather than a genuine teleconnection.