ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Despite a decent monsoon season in New Mexico, the water flow in the Rio Grande in Albuquerque hit a low it hasn’t seen in about five decades. “It does look very dry,” said Carlos Ortega, who runs the bosque every weekend. “There’s a lot of sandbars,” he said.

Story continues below

Ortega and his friend Jonah Ruybalid say they’ve noticed the grim water levels while on their weekly runs. “We were talking about it on the run,” said Ruybalid. “It seems like we’ve been getting a decent amount of rain, but it does look a little bit dry,” Ruybalid told KRQE.

Meteorologists say despite getting a lot of rain between June and July, the Albuquerque Metro is actually below normal by about an inch for this monsoon season. While the rain does help, John Fleck, the Director of UNM’s Water Resource Program, says when it comes to the Rio Grande, the snowpack is what matters most.

“This year, we had an okay snowpack,” said Fleck. “But it was so warm and dry that less of that melted snow made it into the river. We had a terrible run off,” Fleck explained.

According to Fleck on Thursday, the Rio Grande flow through Albuquerque was the lowest it had been since 1970. “We’ve rarely seen flow this low in the river through the City of Albuquerque,” said Fleck.

Last Friday, the board that oversees the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District voted to shut down irrigation on October 1, a month earlier than usual. “The hope is that will allow us to move more water down through Albuquerque,” Fleck said.

News 13 asked Fleck if the trend continues, when could the Rio Grande dry up in Albuquerque? He said it’s hard to know. Fleck says once irrigation season comes to an end, and fall kicks off, the river levels tend to rise a little bit.