New Mexico water provider stops diverting from Rio Grande

June 18, 2021 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — One of New Mexico’s largest drinking water providers has stopped pulling from the Rio Grande to help prevent the stretch of the river that runs through Albuquerque from going dry this summer.

The curtailment that went into effect Friday came about two weeks earlier than last year when New Mexico also was mired in drought. The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority said the curtailment likely will last until November.

In the meantime, the utility will rely exclusively on groundwater it referred to as a “savings account” for the region’s drinking water supply.

Customers are being asked to adhere to restrictions on outdoor watering during certain times and days during the summer, and to conserve what they can to limit the strain on the aquifer.

“This week’s heat wave is a reminder that Bernalillo County and most of New Mexico remains in severe to exceptional drought,” said Steven Michael Quezada, chair of the utility’s governing board.