Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Soft Numbers Make Hard Water Choices.(Editorial Page)


How can the state's top water official and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District agree on more efficient irrigation methods? They can't even agree on how much Rio Grande water the farms and households in the district consume.

The district's earthwork ditches vein the valley from Cochiti Dam south to Socorro. Irrigators flood their fields from the built-up ditches; trench-like drain ditches return the excess to the river. It's that aspect of the system, the return flows, that give rise to disagreement over the district's consumptive use.

State Engineer Tom Turney pegs average annual use at 609,700 acre-feet of water. An acre-foot is more than 300,000 gallons. …

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