January level in unconfined aquifer lowest on record

Courtesy of Rio Grande Water Conservation District

The latest numbers on the aquifer levels in the unconfined aquifer have been released by Subdistrict No. 1, and the news is not so good.

According to information provided by Clinton Phillips. P.E., with Davis Engineering Services, the change in the level of the aquifer for January 2022, which was measured in December, 2021, is -5,547 acre feet, reflecting a change in the aquifer from the previous January of -61,078,


Farmers will begin the months leading up to the April 2022 irrigation season with the lowest level in the aquifer in January on record.


“We’re obviously very concerned, “ says Cleave Simpson, General Manager of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District and state senator representing District 5. “Our only saving grace is to think about where we would be now had we not taken the kind of steps we did over the last 10 years, basically reducing pumping by a third.”


“We just haven’t received very much so this winter,” says Subdistrict No. 1 Program Manager Marisa Fricke. She added that the current lack of snow up to now and the absence of snow predicted for the foreseeable future combined with warmer temperatures prompted the need to make sure growers were aware of the situation.


“The level of the aquifer is another variable for growers to take into account as they make plans for this growing season,” Fricke says.


A total of 702,880 acre feet of water need to be restored to reach the level in the aquifer the State Engineer’s Office is requiring Subdistrict No. 1 to meet by 2031,




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