From this morning’s newspaper, a look at the implications of Santa Fe and Albuquerque shifting from groundwater to surface water imported from the Colorado River Basin (sub/ad req):
For 40 years, San Juan-Chama water has been added to the Rio Grande. You could think of it as “bonus water,” and its loss should in theory not hurt the Rio Grande.
No one disputes the cities’ right to use their imported water, and few question the benefits of the cities’ shift to more sustainable supplies.
But, over those decades, New Mexico has become accustomed to the water’s presence in the river, and water managers are struggling to understand the implications of its loss.
“The river had gotten pretty used to having this extra water,” said Elaine Hebard, a member of the Middle Rio Grande Water Assembly.
Farmers and the environment could feel the pinch.