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Climate Drought


Mark Garcia can see that there’s no shortage of water in the Rio Grande this year. The river flows past his farm in central New Mexico, about 50 miles south of Albuquerque. The rush of springtime water is a welcome change after years of drought, but he knows the good times won’t last.

As the summer continues, the river will diminish, leaving Garcia with a strict ration. He’ll be allowed irrigation water for his 300 acres just once every 30 days, which is nowhere near enough to sustain his crop of oats and alfalfa.

For decades, Garcia and other farmers on the Rio Grande have relied on water released from a dam called El Vado, which collects billions of gallons of river water to store and eventually release to help farmers during times when the river runs dry. More significantly for most New Mexico residents, the dam system also allows the city of Albuquerque to import river water from long distances for household use.

But El Vado has been out of commission for the past three summers, its structure bulging and disfigured aft... Read more

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