POSTED: Monday, October 15, 2012 - 5:16pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 12:20pm
Ongoing Drought Concerns Water Company
EL PASO — Could more water restrictions be on the way? Today county commissioners heard a presentation on the state of our water supply. Commissioner Sergio Lewis asked, what about the Elephant Butte reservoir in New Mexico? When will the water level come back? The answer is the oldest one known to man..it depends on the weather
John Belliew with El Paso Water Utilities says, "Elephant Butte gets all of its water from the snow pack in southern Colorado and northern NEw Mexico. And when you have a reduction in the influx into Elephant Butte then the water level goes down. Conversely when there's more water coming in, the reservoir level rises."
About half of El Paso County's water comes from up at Elephant Butte, the rest comes from ground water supplies, the desalination plant, and the Rio Grande..when it's flowing...but if the drought continues, we may see even less of the river.
Belliew explains, "The most likely scenario would be that the Rio Grande supply would be released late in the season. That would be perhaps in June and the supply would be in July and perhaps into August, as opposed to normally March through October."
If the drought goes on as expected, we can expect voluntary water restrictions, followed if necessary, by mandatory water cutbacks.