Researchers track water levels as Rio Grande continues to swell


The water in the Rio Grande is rushing—levels are so high, it’s causing flooding in some areas. The river is still not at record highs, but researchers are seeing something unusual this year. 

“It’s been full and it seems like it’s going to go over the banks,” Bernal Luceras of Los Chavez said. 

The Rio Grande seems like it’s higher than it’s been in years. The river is becoming so swollen, some areas of the bosque are even flooding. 

“Over in Los Lunas it’s been flooding. It’s been getting bad over there,” Luceras said.

The United States Geological Survey is tracking the river levels on their website, documenting everything from the temperature to how deep it is in different areas. The Rio Grande water levels were recorded at nearly 20 feet high in Bernardo this week. 

David Gensler with the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District says the river may not be breaking records in terms of how high the water is, but they are seeing some differences. 

“Essentially our entire snowpack above 10,000 feet or so is still in place right now,” Gensler said.

Gensler said typically by this time of year the snowpack has melted and is over. But he said this year, it’s steadily increasing, and we could see these levels through July. 

Gensler said that is great news for our dry state, “We’re getting a chance to push lots of water to Elephant Butte right now.” 

The last time the Rio Grande saw heavy runoff was in 2017, after a long drought. 

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