In New Mexico, Tough Choices As Drought Persists

HATCH, N.M. (April 24, 2013)--In southern New Mexico, the Rio Grande has gone dry, reduced to a sandy wash winding from this chili farming community to the nation's leading pecan-producing county.

Across the state's eastern plains, wells stand empty and ranchers are selling cattle and in the north, urban residents face watering restrictions while rural residents see the levels of their springs dropping.

Going on three years, drought has had a hold on nearly all of New Mexico.

Now, with forecasts predicting little relief ahead, farmers and small and large communities are questioning whether dwindling supplies can be stretched enough to avoid costly fights over water.

From the chili fields and pecan orchards of the Hatch and Mesilla valleys to Albuquerque, Santa Fe and beyond, New Mexicans are facing tough choices and dire consequences.

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