Special Report: Drying Out the Sun City


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Over the last four weeks with the help of those across the community, our very own forecaster has been able to dive into depths on how the borderland is being affected by our ongoing drought.

It’s not a secret that we’ve been— well dry. This has caused a ripple effect when it comes to our water in the Rio Grande, our annual yellow fields, and rising temperatures that have soared above normal.

“Additional snow melt and water that will eventually flow into elephant butte during the spring and early summer months will only be 28 percent of normal,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist, Jason Laney.

With this drought leaving our river running dry and crops thirsting for rain.

“Still we have no water flowing out of the Rio Grande yet… That plant is not producing the amount of water we would normally be producing at this time of the year,” said El Paso Water President, John Balliew.

And when water does flow through the river this year– it wont be for long. The last time the borderland saw a drought just as bad as this one was in 2017 and water flowed for up to two months.

“It’s not set in stone yet but indications show water will only flow for one month this year”, said Laney.

Making the borderland rely on water wells, recleaned water and water conservation from the community.

“Farmers in this area are getting about 15 inches which is the last projection for the entire year which is not enough to drow an entire crop of cotton, or pecans which are our two major crops in this area,” said Denise Rodriguez from Texas A&M El Paso.

The drought also leaving farmers to drill their own wells to compensate for the water they won’t receive from the Rio.

“But we have to continue to drill deeper and deeper to find water as that water table continues to drop,” said Laney.

After looking at one well, Laney says the water table has dropped ten feet, and while El Paso Water says they are prepared for this drought, Jason Laney says there are still things to worry about.

“The dire consequences of being in an extended drought and unfortunately when we look at the ongoing climate patterns that are ongoing it doesn’t appear that we are going to turn this ship around just yet,” said Laney.

However, the great thing about weather is that it’s always changing.

So what do we do now?

The best we can with what we have —and wait for rain.

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