Drought restrictions not on table for El Paso as Rio Grande water heads South


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Water managers in El Paso are not expecting a full allotment of surface water making its way to the Rio Grande but they are prepared to supply the region with its needs.

The water is expected to arrive on Friday and will be treated early next week, El Paso Water officials say. Release of the water is expected to last until mid-August.

In the meantime, residents are urged to practice conservation of water as levels will be below half what a full allotment allows for.

Jesus Reyes, the general manager of the El Paso County Water Improvement District, says full allotment would provide four-feet of water per acre. But this year, he says “we’ll be luck to hit two.”

The reason for lower water levels is due to little snowfall in Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

“As a result of very little snow, we had poor runoffs into (Caballo) lake,” he said.

El Paso Water president and CEO John Balliew says drought restrictions are not on the table but El Pasoans should do their part in conserving water.

Balliew says crews activated more ground wells this year to meet regional demands.

“Normally, our peak demand occurs in mid-June. Las year, it was 170 million gallons, and we were able to meet that demand not only through what river supplies we had but through groundwater,” he said. “We’ve been augmenting for more than a year in anticipation of this drought-related impact.”

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