Filing some pictures this evening, I came across this, taken in the bed of the Rio Grande beneath the Hatch bridge in southern New Mexico on April 29, 2013:
Talking about water, and talking about water as a commodity, is not the same as talking about a river.
Beginning in the 1950s, according to USGS data, they’ve been shutting the river down south of Elephant Butte Reservoir most winters. This conserves irrigation water, which is important to grow food and support the economy among those who have chosen to make their livings growing said food. Last year was the longest shutdown in history. They turned the river off around the end of August 2012 and didn’t turn it back on until late May.
This seems to be the sort of thing Schmidt was getting at.