CORRALES, N.M. (KRQE) – As the state faces a severe drought, local farmers are saying there’s more to blame for their crops dying. Farmers in Corrales use water from the Rio Grande for irrigation. However, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District says a break in their infrastructure has called for the limitation of water to the area, posing major problems to farmers and their crops.
“A break in a key piece of infrastructure called the Corrales siphon that moves water through a pipeline underneath the Rio Grande from the east side of the river to the west side of the river and we found a hole,” said Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District CEO, Jason Casuga.
Casuga says that the hole in the pipeline gave the district no choice but to cease operations on that pipeline this season. Farmers are left to deal with the outcome, causing a shorter irrigation season as well as limited water usage. Normally, farmers say they are accustomed to four irrigations.
As of Monday, they’ve only been able to irrigate once and crops in the area are showing those effects. “It’s created a big issue for us in Corrales, we are hurting for water, these trees, we may lose them. They are all drying up,” said Anthony Wagner of Wagner Farms.
The conservancy district says they are working on a second cycle that will allow farmers to irrigate their crops however without rainfall and low river levels, there won’t be enough water to go around come June. The conservancy district says funds for repair are currently limited and they’ll have to rely on state and federal grants to fully fix the problem. There is no timetable to fix the pipeline until more funding comes in, so the conservancy district says this problem could persist through 2024.