From Droughts to Flooding — New Mexico Gets a Strong Foothold
State climatologist, D. DuBois, says the weather has totally flipped in comparison to the past year. After a substantial drought in the spring and summer past, the arid soil is being watered by the rivulets of melting snow all around New Mexico.
The river banks have swelled up, and the temperatures are cooler than average, while precipitation is well above the usual levels. The drought aftermath is easing off.
Practically every inch of New Mexico dealt with drought in the summer of last year.
The drought Extreme and Exceptional drought were noticed in over 60 percent of the state.
In June of 2019, however, the worst classification is Moderate drought, and only a third of New Mexico is affected by it, or just with abnormally dry weather. DuBois assures that even this modest drought will improve, as the temperature is predicted to remain cool and rainfall high.
The meteorologists have shared the latest snow reports and rainfall data with the lawmakers. They’ve pointed out that nearly all the basins and reservoirs are recovering, and precipitation is over 100% of the average.
This is fantastic news for New Mexico.
Because the state has a water-sharing agreement with its neighbor, Texas, they have breathed a sigh of relief. New Mexico can now store Rio Grande water in its reservoirs and not compromise the Texas agreement.
However, the two states are still in a legal battle before the Supreme Court over river management compact. The provisions of the compact state don’t allow either state to store water if the main reservoir drops below a certain amount of acre-feet.
One of New Mexico’s reservoirs managed to surpass 400,000 acre-feet, and this allowed the state to hold some water back for itself. The reservoirs are still in recovery mode because of the long drought of the previous year. But they are well on their way to replenishment.
However, Texas and the Rio Grande are still on officials’ minds.
Everything is bigger in Texas, and apparently, they want bigger water reservoirs. New Mexico pumps underground water near the border, and this makes the Rio Grande flow towards El Paso. Texan critics claim this drains away some of the water from the aquifer and then it doesn’t rejoin the shared river.
New Mexico’s rebuttal is that Texas is pumping the river from its side of the border more than the compact allows it, so it has no case.
New Mexico and Texas representative had already met in Denver earlier this year to discuss a settlement but to no avail. The case is expected to make it to court in 2021, and New Mexico is preparing itself for the showdown. The United States government is also sending experts to gauge the case of oral arguments from the neighboring states.
We will see whether the weather will flip again.