KUNM

Rio Grande silvery minnow

Laura Paskus

As high winds whipped dust, Siberian elm seeds and recycling bins around Albuquerque Thursday afternoon, dozens of people filed into the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Albuquerque office to hear the agency’s 2018 forecast for the Rio Grande.

“I’ll be the bearer of bad news,” said Reclamation’s Albuquerque Area Manager Jennifer Faler. “This is the most extreme shift we’ve had from one operating plan meeting to another.”

Laura Paskus/New Mexico In Depth

During the irrigation season in New Mexico, the Rio Grande is allowed to go completely dry in some stretches. Even Saturday’s intense thunderstorm in Albuquerque hasn’t sustained flows in some regions of the river south of the city.