Bureau of Reclamation Announces Beginning of 2004 Irrigation Season on the Rio Grande Project

Media Contact: Filberto Cortez, (915) 534-6301
Galan Hanson, (505) 894-6661

For Release: April 30, 2004

The Bureau of Reclamation today announced it will hold public meetings in three cities during the month of May 2004. Reclamation will present the latest information concerning the water supply of the Rio Grande Project, the operational plan for Elephant Butte and Caballo Reservoirs, and the schedule of irrigation releases from the reservoirs. The public is invited to attend the following meetings:

Monday, May 17 6:00 PM Civic Center Auditorium, 425 W. Fourth Avenue, Truth or Consequences, NM

Tuesday, May 18 6:00 PM City Hall Council Chambers, 200 N. Church St ., Las Cruces , NM 

Wednesday, May 19 6:00 PM Chamizal National Memorial Conference Room, 800 S. San Marcial, El Paso , TX

As drought persists in the upper Rio Grande Basin , Elephant Butte and Caballo Reservoirs of Reclamation's Rio Grande Project are at their lowest storage levels since 1979. Reclamation predicts that at the end of this year's irrigation season, the storage levels will fall to their lowest levels since 1971. Farmers of the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1, and Mexico will receive less than a full irrigation water supply this irrigation season because the Rio Grande Project water supply remains low and spring runoff predictions continue below average. Last year (2003), the Rio Grande Project water users were allocated only 34 percent of a full supply. The current allocation for the Rio Grande Project water users is 30 percent of a full supply for irrigation. Reclamation revises the allocation on a monthly basis as snow pack runoff reaches the reservoirs.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.