While recent rains provided relief to the ongoing drought, it came too much too fast in some areas of the valley. La Union in particular saw flooding damage that residents and maintenance crews are still repairing. Elephant Butte Irrigation District Manager Gary Esslinger said the District was busy over the weekend answering calls about dangerous wash in’s into drains that were causing problems for those trying to use the District’s right of ways to access their homes and fields.
District employees were busy hauling dirt and shuttling equipment to repair flood damaged infrastructure. “We also sent out our battery of pumps to help farmers who were inundated with flood water,” Esslinger said, “We are using our canal and drain system to drain flooded fields. We are working on trying to drain the fields below La Union in order to help get the water off the crops as well as removed from around streets, homes, barns, and corrals. It’s going to be a very busy week just trying to address the wash ins and keep our pumps running.”
On Dosi Alvarez’ farm in La Union, orchards and cotton fields were standing in floodwater. According to the farmprogress.com, “When the supply of oxygen is cut off to the [cotton] plant and the field is in standing water, the plant can die in as little as 36 hours.” Two of Alvarez’ long time farm crew, Lorenzo Esquivel and Ramon Chavarria, raced the clock as they monitored the pumps EBID had loaned to help drain the fields.
Esslinger said, “Hopefully we will get a break in the weather. We are fortunate that this was not a valley wide storm event. So we were able to concentrate our man power down south.” He reported positive news as well, “Our flood control system worked well and we were able to capture flood water and recharge the aquifer and put a lot of the storm water in our system.”