Irrigation Expansion in Mexico

Landsat satellite imagery, acquired and processed by the U.S. Geological Survey, illustrates a major change in agricultural practices in the northeastern portion of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Increased diversion of water from the Luis L. Leon Reservoir for center pivot irrigation has affected the vegetation patterns in the region and significantly diminished the amount of water reaching the Rio Grande River. The center pivot irrigation systems (marked in the 2010 image by intense red circles) are being used for growing alfalfa and sorghum to supply dairy farms and cattle feedlots. At the same time, diminished flows into the Rio Grande seriously threaten wildlife habitat and natural vegetation.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010