The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) administers the Rio Grande Basin Initiative (RGBI) in New Mexico in cooperation with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas AgriLife Research, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University, and New Mexico State University on June 2, 2008. This project addresses water management throughout the Rio Grande Basin, bringing together research, extension, and education efforts to address local, state, regional, national, and international water concerns. Unlike the cement-lined canals that prevent leeching, the earthen acequias allow seepage into groundwater. Acequias are the traditional irrigation ditches or canals in New Mexico. Research has found that the seepage is not wasted but has an added benefit to the environment. The seepage promotes riparian buffers, cleaner groundwater and a more efficient storage of water. The improved irrigation has improved crop production as evidenced by the improved growth and quantity onions on a local farm. USDA photo by Bob Nichols.
May 22, 2014
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