CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) - Recent rain storms have turned the drought situation upside down in southeast New Mexico.
Just months ago farmers and ranchers were fighting each other over the Pecos River worried they would dry up and go out of business. Now there's so much water they're having to share it with Texas.
"We've been in a drought situation for three years, and presently our reservoirs are about at capacity," said Carlsbad Irrigation Department Board President Charlie Jurva.
In fact, there's so much water now the Carlsbad Irrigation District is sending water to Texas.
"It's something that isn't ours," Jurva continued. "If we owned it we'd keep it, but the Supreme Court says we have to deliver it to Texas, so that's what we're doing."
According to a 2003 settlement agreement, when the water supply in the Pecos River Basin is equal to or greater than 90,000 acre feet, the CID must release a quantity of that water to the New Mexico-Texas state line.
"As a farmer I hate to see any water leave our reservoirs, but the law is the law, and we have to release it when we meet certain criteria," said Jurva.
As for those farmers concerned that releasing so much water could impact their allotment for next year CID officials say there shouldn't be a problem.
Jurva says winter precipitation should replace the water that's been released to Texas this week.
He says even with that release the current situation is a relief for Carlsbad farmers who earlier this year were expecting thousands of acres of farmland to go dry.
"Next year we're looking at a 3-feet allotment to start the year. It's not quite a full allotment, but it's pretty close," said Jurva. "We're going to be tickled pink looking at next year."
This is the first time in three years the CID has been able to release water to Texas.
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