31 Jul '13, 12pm

Harsh drought is drying up New Mexico’s largest reservoir

When I first started reporting — and was shocked that New Mexico’s two largest rivers were running dry — some of my sources were blasé about it. The 1950s, people would say: That was a bad drought. For seven years, the state received less than 12 inches of annual rainfall; for three of those years, less than nine inches. Crops failed, farmers went under — and in some places, underground aquifers still haven’t recovered. Things got better, for a while. During the 1980s and ’90s, rainfall was plentiful by desert standards. Most people set fears of drought aside, even as scientists began warning about the problems climate change would cause in the southwestern United States. Now in its third year of drought, New Mexico has surpassed the bad old days of the 1950s. The past 24 months are the driest on record — in the eight months since October 2012, Albuquerque has received les...

Full article: http://grist.org/climate-energy/harsh-drought-is-drying-u...

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