July 22, 2022
A stretch of the Rio Grande near Albuquerque that supplies farmers with water and a habitat for an array of aquatic life is drying — an unsettling sighting of climate change’s effects in a populous U.S. city.
As the summer’s hotter and drier weather has fueled drought and firethroughout the West, federal and local agencies are salvaging what they can along a 100-mile section of the river: rationing the water for 66,000 acres of agricultural land and rescuing silvery minnows stranded in the remaining puddles of water. If the area doesn’t get consistent rain soon, the drought not matched in four decades could worsen.
These maps illustrate the seriousness of the western drought
They are also warning residents to prepare for the sight of a bed of mud and sand where one of the nation’s longest rivers should flow. While southern stretches of the river regularly dry out, this reach has not experienced a drought like this since 1983, said Jason Casuga, CEO of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District.