Drought Costing Lower Valley Farmers
FABENS — Water will soon be flowing in the dry Rio Grande river bed on it's way to Mexico. But, this year less water is going to area farmers. The Elephant Butte reservoir is at it's lowest level ever, since the dam was constructed in 1926. Before the release of water, the reservoir was only at 20% of full capacity.
Irrigation allotments are determined by how much water is in the reservoir, meaning it will be another tough year for anyone depending on irrigated water. Only about a fourth of the typical "full" allotment will make it to growers in the lower valley this summer.
Pecan farmers are hit extra hard, because of the large amounts of water required for a good crop. Many smaller farms will have to just use enough water to keep the trees alive for another season. Larger farms are able to invest in new wells to make up for the shortage of water. A new well can cost over $130,000.