July 15 News: Ongoing Drought In New Mexico Turns Rio Grande Into ‘Rio Sand’

Severe drought in New Mexico has led to the shortest irrigation period in the lower Rio Grande Valley’s history, and has inspired one local paper to coin a new name for the river: The “Rio Sand.” [Discover Magazine]

Continuing profound drought has left New Mexico so severely parched that the irrigation season along the lower Rio Grande Valley has ended just a month and a half after it started, making it the shortest on record.

Elephant Butte Reservoir, now down to 3 percent of capacity, is supposed to provide irrigation water to south-central New Mexico and west Texas. But it won’t be doing that at least for the rest of this summer. If relief doesn’t come in the form of monsoon rains…and winter snows in the upper part of the basin, farmers in southern New Mexico and Texas will have no water to grow their crops next summer. The waterbank is simply depleted.

The drought in New Mexico is also threatening the livelihood of some ranchers. [The Taos News]

July 16th is the likely date for Gina McCarthy’s confirmation vote in the Senate. [Bloomberg BNA]

New research suggests that for each degree celsius (1.8 degree fahrenheit) of global warming, sea levels could rise 2.3 meters (7.5 feet). [Reuters]


A federal appeals court decision on Friday could mean EPA will move soon to issue a decision on carbon rules on biomass power plants — how much of the energy produced by burning trees and agricultural waste is truly renewable? [Wall Street Journal (subs. req’d)]

Japan is facing an extremely hot summer, with 2,600 people being hospitalized for heat stroke in the first seven days of July. [Deutsche Welle]

Last week’s vote over solar requirements in Georgia split Tea Partiers in the state, with some calling for more solar as an expansion of consumer choice and others — mostly those associated with Americans for Prosperity — rejecting the idea. [Grist]

The cost of solar has plummeted due to technological advancements. [SolarLove]

New York City has a plan to prepare itself for extreme weather and sea level rise, but it remains to be seen whether or not Hurricane Sandy will be enough of an impetus to force the city to follow through on that plan. [Washington Post]


Experts still don’t know the full extent of heavy metal contamination caused by Exxon’s Arkansas pipeline spill in March. [InsideClimate News]

Many of the British government leaders pushing increased use of fracking for shale oil and gas in the country used to work in the oil and gas industry. [Independent]

U.S. sales of hybrid and electric cars continue to rise as their prices come down. [Gas2]

Sand dunes, sea grasses and coral reefs play a critical role in protecting U.S. shorelines from sea level rise and extreme weather and must be protected, according to a new study. [USA Today]

Oil and gas companies have violated Colorado’s air quality rules 73 times in just the first three months of this year. [Energy Collective]

Here are five reasons why Australia’s new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd shouldn’t abandon the country’s price on carbon in place of a cap-and-trade system. [Renew Economy]


Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting at a rate of 300 billion metric tons per year, according to one climate satellite. [The Independent]

Air pollution led to the deaths of 1,600 in Hong Kong in the first half of 2013, according to a Clean Air Network study. [Wall Street Journal]

New Yorkers have burned an estimated 50 million calories during the first month of the city’s new bike share program, according to a new report. [PSFK]