What’s left of the Rio Grande

Rio Grande at Interstate 40, Albuquerque, May 21, 2018

I stopped on the Gail Ryba Bridge over the Rio Grande this morning, the bike bridge adjacent to Interstate 40 that offers one of the great views of our river. The morning light was lovely, I saw a couple of egrets in the ditch down below. I love this place.

Flows right now are stable at a bit more than 500 cfs at the gauge just downstream from here. At this point essentially all that water is human water ops. With a terrible snowpack this winter and farm water use to our north in Colorado, the river’s natural flow probably wouldn’t be enough to reach this spot were it not for agricultural water releases by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District from El Vado Reservoir, up on the Rio Chama.

This can’t last all summer, and absent a great summer rainy season and/or some creative juggling by the water agencies to stretch out their supplies, this could very well be a view of a dry riverbed by mid-July.