The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District and the State of New Mexico have received permission from neighboring states to access up to 38,000 acre-feet of water, or more than 12 billion gallons, that is currently stored in El Vado Reservoir under the Rio Grande Compact agreement. New Mexico must deliver a certain amount of water to Elephant Butte Reservoir every year under the compact. If the state accrues a water debt, it must keep an equivalent amount of water in storage as assurance that the debt will be paid.
Generally, the “debit water” is not released on the river until the late fall when it can travel to Elephant Butte without major losses from irrigation or evaporation. The early release of debit water may impact how much water New Mexico is able to store in El Vado for its own use next year.
Read more in this story by Albuquerque Journal