District Manager Gary Esslinger expects the 2022 season to be another challenging one due to the ongoing drought and low runoff accumulation. At this point in 2022, the weather forecast presents a similar outlook as last year. Based on the regular monthly reports by Dr. Phil King, EBID’s Hydrology and Engineering consultant, the District will continue to cope with late snow runoff conditions and low storage levels in Elephant Butte and Caballo.
Esslinger says, “We need some heavy snowstorms to linger in March and even April to catch us up.” He believes “it’s too early to tell if the little boy, El Niño, is going to push the little girl, La Niña, out of the way.” The District’s Board of Directors will continue to monitor the weather data closely during the coming weeks.
The District is expecting the 2022 irrigation season to open the first of June, run through the month, and end sometime the first week of July unless improvement is seen in the snowpack and runoff levels originating in the Rio Grande Watershed. If these levels remain in tough shape, farmers can expect another fast and furious push for the District to get a predicted 4” surface water allotment out to their farms as quickly as possible.
“I believe we will all be up for the challenge,” Esslinger says, “The diligent efforts made by all EBID Staff, Middle Managers, and employees last year were a huge success. Even though we had just a small window to deliver a 4” allotment, we did it in the most efficient and productive manner possible.”
The District’s Board of Directors is kept closely informed of changes in snowpack, runoff, and expected climate conditions. April has typically been a critical decision-making month as it signals the expected end of the winter snowpack season in the upper watershed. The Board will again evaluate the data presented by King and expect to be able to make an initial allocation estimate at their monthly meeting next month.
Climate outlook models continue to call for dryer and hotter than typical conditions. The District cautions its agricultural producers to again plan for a critically short year. Updates will be shared as they become available. For updated information throughout the season visit the EBID website at www.ebid-nm.org or follow them on FaceBook.