ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A record-breaking winter storm brought much needed precipitation to most of New Mexico recently, but forecasters are warning that drought conditions are expected to persist at least through February as the odds are leaning toward a drier than normal winter.
New Mexico State University will be hosting a series of virtual sessions for farmers and ranchers on drought management and the water outlook starting next week. The first will focus on southern New Mexico and others are being planned for northern and central parts of the state.
The latest drought map shows about two-thirds of the state classified as being in extreme or exceptional drought.
Phil King, the water resources consultant for Elephant Butte Irrigation District, said Elephant Butte Reservoir — the state’s key storage facility — is at about 4 percent of capacity.
“While we are getting a bit of precipitation from a passing storm system, we will need significant sustained precipitation to get up to a decent water supply, and that appears unlikely,” he said in a statement. “We are cautioning our farmers to prepare for a tough 2021 water season.”
The irrigation district expects to start the next season in June and end the season early.
“While we hope for improvement, a critically short season looks likely right now,” he said.