Thursday, February 07, 2013

Addressing NM’s drought — at a high price

Suffering through the state’s worst drought in 60 years, New Mexico farmers and ranchers may get help from the Roundhouse ­– but at a hefty price for taxpayers. Senate Bill 440, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, calls for $120 million for the Interstate Stream Commission to “acquire, retire, protect and conserve” water in the lower Rio Grande basin, which has degenerated in some spots from a mighty river to a slow-moving stream due to the lack of rain and snow.   “We’re not getting water down to the southern part of the state, and we’ve got to find ways to addresss that,” Cervantes told New Mexico Watchdog. “One of the ways to address that is to import some water from outside the district. Another way to do that is acquire senior water rights.” “Water is a sleeper issue here in New Mexico,” Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, said on the opening day of the session. “It is going to be — and already is — a major concern.” Nearly every chart, graph and measurement reflects the dire picture across New Mexico.
  • Virtually the entire state as in severe, extreme or exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
  • The drought has hit New Mexico’s eastern plains the hardest, and according to the Palmer Drought Index, a measure that combines temperature and precipitation, the area has suffered through its driest two-year stretch since the drought of the 1950s.
  • Of the state’s 15 reservoirs, 14 are below 50 percent capacity, the University of Arizona’s Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) shows.
“It’s a devastating world out there,” said Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales,who is a farmer in the hardest-hit area of the state. “When we do get rain, we’re getting two-tenths, three-tenths of a inch of rains. It’s like putting water on hot grease.”...more

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The US Fish and Wildlife Service doesn't think too much about this drought. They want to increase the range of the grey wolf in an ecosystem that has been devastated by fire, rangelands that have been destocked of almost all cattle and sheep, water wells, rivers and lakes mostly just potholes of water. Ranchers and farmers with no way to make a living. The grey wolf was killed in Kansas this year during a coyote call exercise. And we need more in New Mexico and Texas?