August 1, 2013 | Right now, El Paso’s drier than a cow bone baking in the Chihuahuan Desert, and an important source of water for drinking and farming has shrunk into the sandy puddle you see below. The vast desolation of the Elephant Butte Reservoir — named so not because of the presence of pachyderms, but due to a hump in the landscape vaguely shaped like a hulking animal — is a weighty concern for residents of El Paso, who get about half their water from it.
During flush times in the late 1980s and ’90s, the ‘phant contained nearly 2.2 million acre-feet of agua and was the largest reservoir in New Mexico. Today, however, it holds only 3 percent of that amount (65,057 acre-feet) and is at its lowest level in four decades. Here it was in June 1994 at 89 percent capacity (larger version). The development at bottom-right is the beginning of the awesomely named town of Truth or Consequences. Grist News
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