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Published September 20, 2011
Arizona Reservoir Levels(data through 8/31/11)
Data Source(s): National Water and Climate Center
Combined storage is Lakes Mead and Powell decreased slightly in August by about 125,000 acre-feet; a decrease is typical for this time of year. As of August 31, combined storage in both lakes was at 61 percent of capacity (Figure 6), which is around 10 percent more than a year ago. Storage in other reservoirs within Arizona’s borders decreased by more than 110,000 acre-feet in August, including more than 84,000 acre-feet in the Salt River Basin. San Carlos Reservoir in drought-stricken southeastern Arizona had less than a half percent of its capacity. In contrast, storage in Salt River Basin system reservoirs, which supply the Phoenix metropolitan area, was at 77 percent of capacity.
In water-related news, the proposed Blue Ridge pipeline project and other related projects that will bring water to Payson is stalled due to a delay in the environmental review process for the project (Payson Roundup, September 13). A proposed college campus in Payson matriculating 6,000 students is contingent on the pipeline project.
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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