- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

ELEPHANT BUTTE, N.M. (AP) - The irrigation season in southern New Mexico’s Rio Grande Valley will begin this weekend.

The Bureau of Reclamation says an initial release of water from Caballo Reservoir is scheduled for Sunday. Releases from Elephant Butte Reservoir will begin Tuesday and are expected to continue at least through August.

Officials say Elephant Butte, the largest reservoir along the Rio Grande, is currently at 18.5 percent capacity due to a persistent drought. Thanks to low runoff this spring, projections show the reservoir will likely drop significantly again this summer.

Farmers in southern New Mexico and parts of Texas who depend on the river are expecting to get about 6 inches of water to irrigate each acre. That’s double what they received last year, but only a fraction of a full allotment.

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