LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Water is flowing through the New Mexico desert after the Caballo Lake gates were opened early Friday morning
“After a long, dry, off season with the river just sand dunes, it’s kinda spiritual to see it flow again” said Phil King, a Water Resources Professor at NMSU who was at the lake.
The Caballo reservoir water being released was a sight to see in the early morning.
“I get very excited when we see the water flowing down the river,” said Jerry Franzoy, a New Mexico farmer.
“Everything’s gonna get green, the animals love it, the ducks, the birds, the fishermen, and everybody’s out here this morning enjoying it,” said Mark Zingale, who was visiting From Colorado Springs.
But things have been changing for the past several years. While some farmers remembered playing in a river full of water as kids, that hasn’t been possible for a long time, and it’s getting worse.
“We’re actually lower in reservoir storage right now than we were at this time last year. Significantly lower, 100,000 acre feet maybe,” King said.
That means less water for farmers and regular residents; even promising snowmelt from the mountains can’t be relied on.
“There seems to be a fundamental change in hydrology of the watershed now, where with a given level of snowpack we’re getting less runoff into the reservoirs, so it’s unavailable for release, than we have historically,” King explained.
The water is now flowing down, and should fill up the Las Cruces part of the riverbed in a few hours. Once that happens the currents will be strong enough that no one will be able to stand in it.