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Water managers along Rio Grande prep for irrigation season

February 17, 2018

ELEPHANT BUTTE, N.M. (AP) — Federal water managers say they’re preparing for the upcoming irrigation season in southern New Mexico.

The Bureau of Reclamation said Friday water releases from Elephant Butte Dam will begin on Feb. 23 and releases from Caballo Dam to the south will follow on March 16.

Officials are warning that dry riverbeds below both reservoirs will take on water quickly. They’re asking the public to stay out of the river channels for their safety.

Flows are expected to fluctuate through the spring and summer months according to downstream irrigation demands.

Due to a dismal snowpack in the mountains that fed the Rio Grande, little inflow is forecast for Elephant Butte this spring. The latest map shows snowpack levels in New Mexico are far below normal for this time of year.

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