Phil King, New Mexico State University professor and consultant water engineer for EBID, said this year's river-water drought is even worse than in the early 2000s, when there were two severe seasons in a row.
is about to enter its third consecutive short year.
It's more akin to the period between 1954 and 1956, an extreme drought, he
The snowpack in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico so far is "way behind" past year's levels for this point in the season, said King
In addition, winter forecasts don't suggest an El NiÃ±o effect - which tends to result in more snowfall for the mountains in question.
Even if an unexpectedly large amount of precipitation fell this winter, King
said, it still would have to survive sublimation, which vaporizes snow, instead of melting it.
But even if a decent run-off happened, water still must make it to Elephant Butte Lake, passing through the Albuquerque-area irrigation district that's also impacted by the same drought, he
"So, the cards are stacked against us," King
As the situation stands now, farmers may be facing a less-than 6 acre-inch per-acre allotment next season, though it's too soon to say, King
And the start of the irrigation season may be delayed until June, at least, he
said a dramatic recharge isn't impossible, but it is unlikely.
"We've been through droughts before, and we'll get through this one," he