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Published February 23, 2011
Arizona Reservoir Levels(through 1/31/11)
Data Source(s): USDA-NRCS, National Water and Climate Center
Combined storage in Lakes Mead and Powell decreased slightly in January. While Lake Mead increased by 463,000 acre-feet, Lake Powell decreased by 628,000 acre-feet. As of February 1, combined storage was at 49.1 percent of capacity, which is 1.8 percent less than a year ago (Figure 6). Storage in Salt and Verde River basins and the San Carlos Reservoir slightly increased by about 33,000 acre-feet. Total reservoir storage in Arizona is lower than it was one year ago.
In water-related news, the Flagstaff City Council approved the decision to drill six groundwater wells that will help meet future demand (Arizona Daily Sun, February 17). The decision is controversial and likely will lead to a lawsuit filed by the Navajo Nation, which contends it owns the 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 Dubois, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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