Utility inadvertently diverted irrigation water

Jul 5, 2012

The water utility in Albuquerque inadvertently diverted farmers' irrigation water from the Rio Grande for more than a week in late June and used it for the city's drinking water supplies.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/MXVOs1) that John Stomp, chief operating officer of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility, acknowledged the improper diversions and agreed to pay back the farmers.

Officials say the problem arose because the Rio Grande is currently so dry that almost all the current flow in the Rio Grande through Albuquerque is water imported from the Colorado River Basin via a series of tunnels beneath the continental divide in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.

The problem reflects the increasing difficulty of managing flows on the river in dry years.