Rio Grande tells water trend story#

Posted 2023-04-10

Rio Grande

This is a look at the humbled Rio Grande as it passed Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park near Las Cruces. Based on today's flow data below the Elephant Butte Dam, this is what 0.25 cubic-feet per second looks like -- works out to about 112 gallons of water per minute.

The Elephant Butte Reservoir (upstream from the picture location) is one component of the 1938 Rio Grande Compact (congressional and tri-state agreement between Colorado, New Mexico and Texas), which aims to equitably apportion the waters of the Rio Grande basin. The reservoir last reached full in the 1990's. El Paso Water, which depends on the reservoir per the Rio Grande Compact, has not received its full allotment in a decade, and has been actively making adaptations for this new normal.

At time of this writing Elephant Butte Reservoir is in the mode of storing up the Spring snowmelt from the Rio Grande basin. Thankfully, it could be a better-than-usual year for the reservoir, as 2023 snowpack levels across Colorado were solidly above normal.

Comment by email