ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Water Authority will stop taking water from the Rio Grande for the next few months to avoid depleting river flows during the drought. For now, local supplies will come exclusively from groundwater. The agency routinely does this during the hottest months. However, this is the second year in a row, they are planning it for an extended period. The shift will likely last through November.

“This week’s heatwave is a reminder that Bernalillo County and most of New Mexico remains in severe to exceptional drought,” said Steven Michael Quezada in a news release from the Water Authority, Chair of the Water Authority governing board. Quezada said the flows of Rio Grande will be too low in the coming months to allow diversion of the utility’s imported San Juan-Chama surface water.

The Water Authority recommends the following conservation measures:

  • Adhering to mandatory time-of-day watering restrictions: No sprinkler irrigation between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Avoiding water waste (e.g., allowing water to flow or overspray onto streets and sidewalks. Water waste fines are double during the drought).
  • Following the Water by the Numbers program and limiting irrigation to three days per week during the summer.
  • Replacing thirsty turf areas with desert-friendly xeriscapes (visit or for rebate information).
  • Troubleshooting irrigation systems for leaks, damage and malfunctions
  • Installing a WaterSense-certified “smart” irrigation controller