Special Report: Surviving the heat of the Borderland

El Paso News

El Paso, TX (KTSM) — If you’ve driven across the Franklin Mountains you may have noticed that our California poppies have been far from close to making their yearly appearance and it’s not just the flowers that are suffering.

“We look at our snow pact, that’s where our water comes from that goes into Elephant Butte… well it is well below normal this time,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Jason Laney explained.

Agriculture specialist Jeff Anderson from NMSU said “That’s when it gets really scary, what happens when all the water runs out… we’re talking out a whole southwest area where millions and millions of people live.”

Well, not run out of tap water but run out of water in the Rio Grande and Elephant Butte. Both of which feed an immense amount of water to our local farms.

The most critical are pecan and cotton farms in both Las Cruces and El Paso. Pecan farmers are worried because their land must be flooded to grow the nuts.

“They’re going to get 15 inches of water so if we compare that to lets say 48 inches of water, what would be a full allocation… you can see that deficit there is going to need to be supplemented by drilling wells,” said Denise Rodriguez from Texas A&M El Paso.

Wells that will drill thousands of feet beneath the Borderland, but it’s not just the farms that are suffering.

“You may notice the plants in your own backyard that are suffering,” said Laney.

“You go outside and it’s not just the poppies that aren’t growing but nothing is growing,” added Jeff Romney from the Museum of Archaeology.

Experts advise those who garden, to steer towards planting native desert plants.

“You should get native plants and adaptive plants because those are going to be the ones that pull through out of this drought,” Rodriguez advised.

While the National Weather Service has mentioned that there is an equal chance for a dry, normal or wet monsoon, Rodriguez told KTSM, there is one thing El Pasoans don’t need to worry about.

“The poppy seeds are still there, they are just dormant and when the conditions are right they will be able to bloom and be showy for us, so that’s the great thing about plants.”

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