EL PASO, Texas - The Rio Grande began to flow on Thursday in the Borderland.
Water released from New Mexico reached Canutillo late Wednesday, but it wasn't long before it made it to El Paso. Original predictions had the water reaching El Paso a day later, but an increased release sped the process up.
"We released a much bigger quantity in order to try to prevent losses," said Jesus Reyes.
Reyes, who runs the El Paso Water Improvement District, said the increased release was planned to get the river flowing quickly, avoiding runoff. That plan also means the flow will be slowed to allow for a longer water season; however, it won't last too long.
"It's a smaller amount than normal and we're going to get cut off," said the El Paso Water Utilities spokesperson Christina Montoya. "It's going to end mid-July."
The short river season shows how bad the drought has gotten. This year's water release was a month later than last year. Last year's release was considered late as well.
The good news is the EPWU was preparing for the shortened season. Officials have been keeping an eye on resevoirs to make sure they stay at respectable levels. While the wait for river water was on, they sustained the city of El Paso on groundwater resources.
El Paso's water desalination plant is considered world-class, and it's helped. EPWU has also drilled new wells to ensure the area could handle the drought.
"In situations like that, where we don't have something, we can look to another source," explained Montoya. "For example, we didn't have river water for some time so we can look to other sources to meet demand."
With water here, the conservation won't stop. Montoya said utility officials have to continue to keep an eye on consumption, especially with more 100-degree temperature days on the horizon. As in years past, EPWU will continue its campaign to give away free low-flow showerheads. For more information, you can visit the website: epwu.org