N.M. valley farmers resorting to groundwater

Posted: Mar 27, 2013

Written by

Associated Press
Hatch Valley

Farmers in southern New Mexico’s Hatch Valley are struggling their way through the drought by pumping saline water from shallow aquifers.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the farming valleys that stretch across southern New Mexico from Elephant Butte Reservoir to the Texas border are humming with the sound of irrigation pumps that pull up groundwater to wet the fields.

The pumping of the groundwater is a poor substitute for Rio Grande water and poses long-term problems.

The canals that usually supply clean Rio Grande water to one of New Mexico’s most storied and agriculturally productive regions remain bone dry a month into the irrigation season.

With a meager snowpack in the mountains to the north, the forecast calls for just 39 percent of average runoff on the Rio Grande.

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