Water worries mount in Middle Rio Grande Basin


Photos show water volumes of New Mexico’s Elephant Butte Reservoir in 2013 (left) and 1994 (right). Scientists say the current volume is similar to that of 2013 and will likely be the norm in future years. (Courtesy of CERM-UTEP)

If water use in the Middle Rio Grande Basin continues at its current pace, hydrological resources in the region will become steadily scarcer, concludes a newly completed five-year study by U.S. and Mexican researchers. The $4.9 million study, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, gauges the sustainability of surface water and groundwater use along the Rio Grande from New Mexico’s Elephant Butte Reservoir south to the junction of Mexico’s Rio Conchos and the Rio Grande. The area includes the Paso del Norte, a metroplex of 2.5 million people encompassing El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, as well as Doña Ana County, New Mexico and extensive farmland on both sides of the border. “We can’t separate what is going on in the U.S. and Mexico,” says study coauthor Alfredo Granados, a professor at the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juárez. Granados terms the border region a “single ecological system... [Log in to read more]

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