ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Farmers relying on water from the Rio Grande will see supplies dwindle after their irrigation district releases the last of its stored water on Monday.
The irrigators will see the changes anywhere from July 3 to July 9 depending on where they are along the 150 miles of river from managed by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District Cochiti Dam to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in Socorro County.
Irrigation season will continue, however, with whatever natural flow in the river is available to the district, according to a statement MRGCD released Friday afternoon.
"It will be vitally important for all irrigators to schedule their irrigation and share what water is available." MRGCD Hydrologist David Gensler said in the statement. "We are truly at the mercy of Mother Nature now, and rain is our only option for increased water supply."
The district said that because of the ongoing drought it was forced to tap stored water at the rate of 950 cubic feet a second from El Vado Dam on the Rio Chama near Tierra Amarilla.
The flow from Cochiti Dam on the Rio Grande, currently running at 1,000 cfs, will be cut to 500 cfs and likely will only be 100 cfs under the Central Avenue bridge in Albuquerque, according to the district.
According to the district the Bureau of Reclamation will be releasing water to benefit the endangered population of the Rio Grande silvery minnow. Some flow also will be available for the six pueblos along the district's stretch of river.
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