With just a quarter of an inch of rain (0.63 cm) since July 1, this is the driest start to a monsoon season in Albuquerque since 1993, (source) and it’s been hot – 3 degrees F above average, according to the National Weather Service.
The result, Laura Paskus reports, is a drying Rio Grande:
The river began drying in mid-July as managers allow water to flow into irrigation channels. Currently, there are about 17 miles dry south of Albuquerque, between San Antonio and the southern boundary of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
July has been tough on everyone, says David Gensler, hydrologist with the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, which delivers irrigation water to farmers between Cochiti and Elephant Butte. “After a pretty easy spring, the high temps have done a number on us,” he says. “Every farmer from Cochiti to Socorro needs water, and needs it yesterday.”
It is probable that these conditions will continue or become drier for the next decades, and water planners should start to plan to adjust to it.