Rio Grande ruling challenged as drought persists

Rio Grande ruling challenged as drought persists

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Environmentalists are challenging a court ruling over whether water from the Rio Grande is properly accounted for and being used in beneficial ways as it flows through New Mexico’s most populated region.

They say the state’s top water manager needs to do more to reduce use in the Middle Rio Grande Valley, but irrigation officials say they’re already doing the best they can as years of drought have strained resources.

The latest federal drought map shows the area of the U.S. being hit the hardest covers portions of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. That includes the headwaters of the Rio Grande.

Officials say this was the one of the lowest spring runoff seasons in decades. Federal and local water managers have had to broker agreements to keep the river flowing in some stretches.