Dona Ana, New Mexico, USA

Water Conservation Improvements for the Elephant Butte Irrigation District in New Mexico

Status: Completed


The district consists of three main irrigation systems: the Rincon Valley System, the Middle Mesilla Valley System and the Lower Mesilla Valley System. The three systems can deliver irrigation water to 90,640 acres of farms and small tracts within these valleys.

The irrigation distribution system was built about 75 years ago and has become increasingly overtaxed in meeting modern agricultural demands. Overall water efficiency is currently estimated at only 45% to 50%.

EBID initiated an overall system improvement program three years ago and has already completed improvements to eight laterals. The proposed project will complete the second phase of the program and will serve as a pilot for a larger scale canal improvement plan.


The project consists of replacing 14.18 miles of open, unlined, earthen irrigation laterals with 48-inch aluminized steel pipe throughout the three main irrigation systems over a three-year construction period.


The proposed improvements will virtually eliminate seepage and evaporation losses in the selected sections, resulting in a projected savings of 9,561 acre-feet of water a year, as well as increasing overall district operating efficiency to about 65%. Environmental benefits also include the reduced use of herbicides for weed control along the laterals and the reduced risk of water contamination as laterals will be protected from illegal dumping. The district will also save time and money as a result of reduced maintenance requirements associated with mowing, dredging and herbicide spraying.

Project Financing

Total Project Cost US 8.5M
NADBank Funding US 4M - NADBank Grant: WCIF