Winter snows ‘too little, too late’ for water managers


The water forecast for New Mexico is as abysmal this month as it was in February.

Noting a "sharp contrast" to the northern Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest, where snowpack is closer to the normal conditions of the past 30 years, the report, produced by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and released March 7, said the Southwest experienced intensifying drought.

"For New Mexico, it's a story of too little too late, and the lack of beneficial moisture has become evident statewide," the report read.

The snowpack is the measure of snow in the mountains that is used to determine how much water will be available for irrigators and reservoir manager via spring snowmelt. In the Rio Grande Basin, the snowpack stands at 34 percent of normal.

The forecasted streamflow for the Río Grande at Costilla Creek, near the Colorado state line, for March to July is only 33 percent of average.

The state's drought conditions worsened throughout last month. Taos County was among the driest spots in New Mexico, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.