NEW MEXICO (KRQE) –Many New Mexico farmers are breathing a sigh of relief after the recent storms. This was shaping up to be a brutal stretch of summer until that rain arrived. Just to give an idea of how dire the situation was, just last month the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Authority reported it would stop taking drinking water from the Rio Grande for the next few months.
People in the farming community were preparing for the worst. “When the acequia’s get cut off as many already have for the year that’s it, you know, unless you have again, a private well on a water table with kind of a really generous allotment, once you’ve used what you’ve used, you’re done for,” explains Juliana Ciano with Reunity Resources.
In these dry years, farmers need to plan their crops carefully and use water resources efficiently.
Donald Martinez is a New Mexico hay farmer and rancher in Rio Arriba County and says farmers were hurting pretty bad most of this winter and early spring. With less spring runoff this year, there was very little irrigation water.
Martinez says the recent rain came at just the right time. “Well our morale has gotten better. For a while there was talk about herd dispersals, liquidation of livestock,” explains Martinez. “So you hate to see a rancher, you know, having to reduce that much because that’s our livelihood.”
Like so many other farmers, Martinez is hoping the monsoon keeps delivering over the next couple of months.
Those with the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District say the recent rains have allowed them to reduce the release of stored water up north. That has allowed them to extend the irrigation season for a couple of days at this point. They say any additional rainwater will be distributed where possible.
Parts of southern New Mexico have gotten eight inches of rain over the last couple of weeks, which is almost as much as they see in an average year.