Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Drought in the Southwest

We all heard about it, all summer - the lack of rain, dropping water levels...

I did not appreciate it until I got back to my winter resting spot in New Mexico, on the shore of Elephant Butte Lake.  First, here is a photo from January, 2010.

While the early morning clouds over the lake hide it and the far skyline to some extent, there is enough there for it to be recognized.  The lake was quite broad and forms a substantial impoundment of the waters of the Rio Grande.

Today, the view is quite different.  From my usual spot, the lake remains visible to the south.  Looking straight across, however...

the lake is gone.  To the left of the shot is a paved area that was a parking and prep area for boat launching.  Where there was water, there now is a vast flat area of sand, silt, and emerging vegetation.  I can't imagine how much water it would take to return the lake to its former level.

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