Wait ensues for summer rains as drought blankets New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Water levels at New Mexico’s largest reservoir are dropping and more rivers around the state are being reduced to a trickle as residents, farmers and water managers anxiously await the start of summer rains that could offer some short-term relief to the dry conditions.
The federal drought map released Thursday shows every square mile of New Mexico is dealing with some form of drought as neighboring states across the American Southwest are faring just as poorly.
Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque said Thursday the most noticeable increase in the coverage of showers and thunderstorms so far this season is expected through the weekend.
Park authorities say they may have to close areas where visitors typically boat because of the lower water levels.
Agency spokeswoman Mary Carlson said the bureau is doing what it can to keep the Rio Grande wet in the Albuquerque reach.
But between leases from the previous year and what was secured this year, there’s not much left and managers are trying to stretch it until the rains arrive.
"We live in the desert and people are just so passionate about the little bit of water that we have," Carlson said.
In northwestern New Mexico, the flow of the Animas River at Farmington registered last week as zero.
The city of Farmington has imposed mandatory watering restrictions due to the drought as voluntary restrictions are in place in many other communities around the state.
This time last year, less than a quarter of the state was dealing with only abnormally dry conditions.

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