Elephant Butte Inn and Spa

NM Centennial -It's All About the Water

In an arid state, harnessing water from mountain snow melt and springs has always been critical to sustaining agricultural production,

The Bureau of Reclamation's construction of Elephant Butte Dam, rising 301 feet tall and nearly 1,700 feet wide, between 1911 and 1916, created the largest irrigation reservoir in the world at that time.  By creating a vast lake, the project also produced New Mexico's most popular state park.

The project was aimed at taming the unpredictable flooding of the Rio Grande, to ensure the regular supply of irrigation water and to consolidate small privately built irrigation systems in the Rincon and Mesilla Valleys.

The amount of irrigated acreage in Southern New Mexico tripled to more than 100,000 acres, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.

More next week...this information was supplied by the Albuquerque Journal's "New Mexico, 100 years of Statehood" special Centennial edition.

Today, Sierra County celebrated with a "Walk Across the Dam"...this has not been allowed since the 9/11 tragedies.

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