Late Rains Bring Relief For Sonoran Agriculture

By Murphy Woodhouse
Published: Thursday, December 26, 2019 - 1:23pm

El Novillo Reservoir
Murphy Woodhouse/KJZZ
The El Novillo Reservoir, one of the largest in Sonora, stands at over 80 percent capacity as of late December.

Though they brought serious flooding, epic fall rains in Sonora mean dam levels are ending the year up over last year.

Through the summer, Sonora’s dam system was at a deficit, spelling trouble for the state’s sizable agricultural sector, according to Lucas Antonio Oroz, the region’s technical director for the National Water Commission. But then intense fall rains changed that picture: nearly 1.9 billion cubic meters were captured by the system in recent months That’s about a million and a half acre-feet..

“And the average that normally enters the system is 591 [million],” he said. “That’s the scale of what September and November left for us.”

As of the most recent report, the state’s dams stood at 66.4% capacity, up roughly 5% from the same time last year.

Oroz said that will allow for more acreage planted and may have saved the cattle industry from a crisis. Much of the state’s agricultural output is destined for export.

Recent Dam And Rainfall Reports

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