- Associated Press - Saturday, May 20, 2017

PILAR, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico kayakers, rafters and farmers are taking advantage of heavy snowmelt feeding the Rio Grande.

Hydrologist Royce Fontenot told the Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/2pWFsy7 ) Thursday that the Rio Grande flow at Embudo has reached 4,111 cubic feet per second (116.42 cubic meters per second) this spring. That is the highest it has been since 2014, and Fontenot says there is still more snowmelt from Colorado and Rio Grande Basin to come.

The 2017 spring runoff is the highest snowmelt runoff recorded in the Rio Grande since 2008, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website.

One of the six kayakers on the Rio Grande in Pilar on Tuesday said the area was considered a Class 4, which he considers an ideal kayaking condition.

Big River Raft Trips owner Billy Millers expects this to be a great whitewater season.

“This is the time to go rafting,” Miller said. “Don’t wait for it to warm up. All the water is going to be gone.”

The water is also good news for farmers. They can grow more crops and afford to have more livestock when river flows are high, New Mexico Acequia Association Executive Director Paula Garcia said.

“When we have plenty of water, we can plant a lot more in our fields and irrigate more of our pastures,” she said.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

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