Las Cruces – The shortage of water in the Rio Grande this year is hurting southern New Mexico farmers' pocketbooks.
That's because of having to pump groundwater in addition to paying fees associated with irrigation water from the river.
The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that farmers in the Elephant Butte Irrigation District pay an annual fee of $80 per acre before the irrigation season starts to stake a claim on a share of the Rio Grande water.
They must pay the fee even if they receive only a small amount of water this year rather than the normal 2 acre-foot per acre.
An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons, enough to meet the annual water needs of one to two U.S. households.
Information from: Las Cruces Sun-News, http://www.lcsun-news.com
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.