Opening the spigot on the Rio Grande

My friend Lauren Villagran had a lovely piece in this morning’s Albuquerque Journal about what happens when you turn on a river:

Unlike in Albuquerque, where the river is always wet, the wide, sandy bed of the Rio Grande is almost always dry in southern New Mexico below the Hatch Valley until irrigation season begins. Every drop of river water is allocated under a more than century-old treaty – to Texas; then Mexico, and to the onion, chile, alfalfa and pecan farms of southern New Mexico’s Mesilla Valley.

Chasing the river’s advance is a strange thrill, both magical and unsettling.

I’ve known that strange thrill, and she is right in both regards – it is magic to see a river return to its bed, but also unsettling to realize it is doing so in this way only because we periodically turn it off.