Arizona shows some short-term improvement during drought, water table still struggling
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - New data shows that Arizona’s short-term drought status has improved, thanks to this year’s monsoon.
Arizona’s monsoon rain increased our overall rainfall totals by 10%. Given the ongoing drought’s intensity, 2022 was an overall good year for the southwest as the rainfall evened out the difference between it and the monsoon over the course of the year. Because of the increased rainfall, soil moisture is expected to stay strong at the surface level. Unfortunately, these improvements are only short-term. Heading into the cold season, deeper soil is still going to be heavily impacted by drought.
In general, experts say soil moisture will continue to stay high throughout the winter, helping stream and river flows come springtime. In terms of snowpack, experts predict that this year will see less snow than desired for the third year in a row. Less snow means not enough groundwater and reservoir replenishment to make any real difference in the state’s overall drought level.
Arizona’s aquifers and overall water table are still very dry, putting pressure on much of the state’s groundwater resources. Lake Powell is only 24% full and Lake Mead is only 27% full. Over the summer, both lakes have seen rockslides, human remains rising to the surface, and less tourism overall, due to plummeting water levels. Experts predict that during the early winter months, Arizona will see above-normal temperatures than in years past, further solidifying the drought’s impact on Arizona.
In September, agribusiness and water council officials met in Tempe to discuss potential water cuts for southwestern states that rely on the Colorado River. The river brings water to more than 40 million people across seven states as well as Mexico. It also helps the agricultural industry at $15 billion every year.
Overall, the southwestern states most impacted by drought over the monsoon months were Utah and Nevada, while both Colorado and New Mexico trailed behind. Check out our First Alert Weather Arizona drought monitor below:
Copyright 2022 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.