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Published December 20, 2010
Arizona Reservoir Levels(through 11/30/10)
Data Source(s): USDA-NRCS, National Water and Climate Center
During November combined storage in Lakes Mead and Powell decreased by about 462,000 acre-feet. Inflow into Lake Powell was 79 percent of average. As of November 1, combined storage in the lakes was at about 49 percent of capacity (Figure 1), which is 2.1 percent or 1.07 million acre-feet less than a year ago. Precipitation in the Upper Colorado River Basin during October was 135 percent of average while in November it was 90 percent of average. Reservoir storage in the Verde and Salt River systems also declined by 28,000 and 4,000 acre-feet, respectively.
In water-related news, important legislation that will help end the lengthy dispute over the White Mountain Apache Tribe’s water rights and provide a much-needed drinking water supply for people across Arizona was recently pushed through Congress (wmicentral.com, December 5). Enactment of the bill will finalize a consensus among the White Mountain Apache Tribe and 20 other parties and will authorize water projects in the region, as well as clarify water rights.
The map gives a representation of current storage levels for reservoirs in Arizona. Reservoir locations are numbered within the blue circles on the map, corresponding to the reservoirs listed in the table. The cup next to each reservoir shows the current storage level (blue fill) as a percent of total capacity. Note that while the size of each cup varies with the size of the reservoir, these are representational and not to scale. Each cup also represents last year’s storage level (dotted line) and the 1971–2000 reservoir average (red line).
The table details more exactly the current capacity level (listed as a percent of maximum storage). Current and maximum storage levels are given in thousands of acre-feet for each reservoir. One acre-foot is the volume of water sufficient to cover an acre of land to a depth of 1 foot (approximately 325,851 gallons). On average, 1 acre-foot of water is enough to meet the demands of 4 people for a year. The last column of the table list an increase or decrease in storage since last month. A line indicates no change.
These data are based on reservoir reports updated monthly by the National Water and Climate Center of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). For additional information, contact Dino DeSimone, Dino.DeSimone@az.usda.gov.
Portions of the information provided in this figure can be accessed at the NRCS website:
Southwest Climate Outlook Staff
- Michael Crimmins, UA Extension Specialist
- Stephanie Doster, Institute of the Environment Editor
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, Managing Editor, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Dollin, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
- Dave Dubious, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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