Rio Grande through Albuquerque could dry again this year

River flanked by woods with desert bluff to the left and tiny hot air balloons dotting the sky

Rio Grande in Albuquerque, Aug. 4, 2023. Photo by John Fleck

The Rio Grande, already dry in the San Acacia reach south of Socorro, has begun drying in the Isleta reach south of Albuquerque. And with a record hot dry summer, we could see it dry in Albuquerque again this year, as it did last year for the first time in 40 years.

Via Dani Prokop:

New Mexico’s largest river could dry again through the state’s largest city, for the second time in about forty years, if the monsoons continue to be weak.

“We could see drying in Albuquerque as early as mid-August,” (the USBR’s Carolyn Donnelly) said.

Problem 1 this year is that it’s hot and dry. Problem 2 is that El Vado Reservoir, built in the 1930s to store spring runoff for use at times like this, is under repair. So the stored water that would provide both irrigation and environmental benefits is unavailable.

This morning’s water management notes from the USBR noted 30 miles dry in the San Acacia Reach and a mile of dry riverbed in the Isleta reach.

Flow this morning through Albuquerque was a bit above 300 cubic feet per second. The median for this point in August is ~600 cfs.


One Comment

  1. For irony, there are “hot air” balloons in the background of the photo. Propane–and champagne as they say.
    I keep ruminating on the lack of any change in the many activities which produce GHG emissions. From hot air balloons, to NASCAR races, to 14 million new light gas burning vehicles sold in the US. Plus all the new buildings that use natural gas heat.

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