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July 29 2013

Drought Dries Elephant Butte Reservoir


In the summer of 2013, Elephant Butte Reservoir dwindled to its lowest level in forty years. By late July, despite the arrival of monsoon rains, the reservoir was still virtually empty.

Numbers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimated the total water in storage to be 65,057 acre-feet (0.7 cubic kilometers) on July 24, 2013, about 3 percent of the reservoir’s capacity of 2.2 million acre-feet (2.7 cubic kilometers). The last time water levels were that low was 1972, after droughts in the 1950s and 1960s depleted Elephant Butte. On the other hand, the reservoir was filled nearly to capacity for most of the period between 1985 and 2000.

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