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Photo of Otowi Bridge by John Phelan

A “new normal” on the Rio Grande?

January 2018 monthly forecast predicts river flows 24 percent of average

January 9, 2018

The Natural Resources Conservation Service has issued its first monthly stream flow forecast of 2018 for the Rio Grande, and the outlook is bleak. The agency predicts that flows at the Otowi Bridge (just west of Pojoaque, New Mexico), will be just 24 percent of average—the lowest in a decade.

Without enough water flowing, the Rio’s entire ecosystem suffers, from endangered fish and bird species to the human communities that depend on the river.

The dry conditions will put the Rio’s most recent water management plan to the test. In 2013, another very low-flow year, mandates forced water managers to ensure that certain stretches of the river did not dry. These mandates are now gone, and the fate of the Rio Grande ecosystem rests largely in the hands of water managers’ good will.

Read the press release.

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