Drought Forces Pumping To Meet Pecos Water Needs

Albuquerque, New Mexico – ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRWG) New Mexico water managers are hopeful that summer rains will alleviate the pains of a persistent drought, but until then they're scrambling to meet irrigation demands and interstate compacts.

Some of New Mexico hasn't seen significant rainfall since last year. Lake shorelines are expanding and river sandbars are growing.

Along the Pecos River in eastern New Mexico, water managers are being forced to pump groundwater to augment the river's flow to meet a 2003 settlement with farmers in the Carlsbad Irrigation District.

The state engineer's office says this is the first time pumping has been required to meet the settlement's terms.

On the southern Rio Grande, irrigators have been negotiating with the state in hopes of getting additional water to extend what has been the shortest irrigation season on record.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. KRWG