How much did this week’s snow and rain storm help our state’s water levels?
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5 ) - We talk a lot about water shortages and drought in Arizona, so it begs one question: Did the big snow and rain storm this week put us in a better water situation? As far as a storm goes in this state, SRP said that was a 10 out of 10. But does it change the overall water picture? They said not so much but said we’re actually in a good place right now.
The winter weather was a treat for the entire state of Arizona this week. “We’ll take anything, to be honest,” said Andrew Volkmer, senior hydrologist with SRP. Volkmer said any storm that can help fill their seven reservoirs is a good thing, and overall, SRP said their reservoirs are at 71% full right now, which they consider in good shape. Those are key for the Phoenix area. “The SRP reservoirs in the SRP system supply somewhere between 40-50% of the Valley’s water supply,” Volkmer said.
The reality is we live in a desert and have had problems with drought over the years. “There isn’t a need to panic but there’s still a reason to be concerned and to just be aware of what’s going on with our water supply,” said Volkmer.
Water in the Valley doesn’t have to be rationed, at least not any time soon. In 2003 and 2004, the reservoirs reached a level so low that they did have to ration. “We would start to ration water or cut allocation once we reached a certain storage threshold in our reservoirs, which is actually really low and we’re still really far from that,” Volkmer said.
This week’s storm specifically will help with water runoff once all that snow melts, but they said it wasn’t quite enough to help with a below-normal runoff we’re still seeing. Their hope is that it isn’t the last of winter weather, no matter how big or how small. “We don’t necessarily need these big storms. We could use a lot of small storms that come through with rainfall or snowfall,” he said.
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