Elephant Butte Dam was one of the first big concrete dam’s in America. It currently doesn’t have much water behind it. My column:
An enthusiastic crowd wandered the top of Elephant Butte Dam on Jan. 7, celebrating, with good reason, the structure’s role in New Mexico history. But it must have been hard to ignore the distance down to the water on the dam’s upstream face.
When they are brimful, with their outlets roaring, big dams like Elephant Butte are triumphal. But the big empty behind the dam, like we see this January in what looks like is shaping up to be a second consecutive year of drought on the Rio Grande, taunts our frailty.