U.S. Water News Online
EL PASO, Texas -- The lack of snow to the north could mean
one West Texas city might have to adopt emergency water conservation
measures in the coming months, water officials here have said.
The news also means residents of El Paso would be asked to use
less water this summer -- a product of drought-related conditions
experienced in other parts of the state.
Ed Archuleta, general manager of El Paso Water Utilities, warned
members of the utility's governing body, the Public Service Board,
that snowpack in the mountains of southern Colorado and northern New
Mexico is far below normal for this time of year. He also said the
National Weather Service's long-range forecast is not good for the
``We need to be ready because it looks bleak,'' Archuleta said.
``The runoff, as projected, could only be 24 percent of normal.''
Of Texas' 254 counties, 95 already have received drought disaster
declarations from weather and agriculture officials and 13 others
await such declarations.
El Paso draws about half its annual water supply from the Rio
Grande. The amount of river water that rolls through El Paso depends
on how much is released upstream at Elephant Butte Reservoir in
southern New Mexico, where the runoff is stored.
The river water is divided among farmers and cities in New Mexico,
Texas and Mexico.
Archuleta's announcement means residents would be asked to hold
off on filling swimming pools, reduce lawn watering, and change the
way they cool their homes. Fund-raising car washes also would be
outlawed, and restaurants would not automatically serve water with
Mary Chavez of El Paso, an administrator with the Clint school
district, said the lack of snow this year has forced her and her
husband to spend more money to enjoy decent skiing in Utah instead of
``It did occur to me that it would wind up affecting our water
supply, too, eventually,'' Chavez said.
The National Weather Service predicts the La Nina weather
phenomenon, cited as the leading cause for the lack of moisture and
above normal temperatures, will persist through early April, said
Filberto Cortez, manager of the El Paso division of the U.S. Bureau
of Reclamation. That will mean temperatures about 25 percent above
normal and 10 percent to 15 percent less precipitation than normal.
the U.S. Water News Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.