SRP reservoirs finish 2020 mostly full despite dry Arizona conditions
PHOENIX – After the hottest and driest summer in Arizona history followed by a dry and warm fall and early winter, the six reservoirs that supply water to metro Phoenix are mostly full.
The Salt River Projects’ reservoirs on the Salt and Verde river systems are 77% full, according to the water and power company’s daily data report Wednesday. Around this time last year, the chain of lakes were at 73% capacity.
The largest reservoir, Roosevelt Lake, is 81% full. Smaller sites Canyon and Saguaro lakes are closest to capacity at 96% and 93%.
The U.S. Drought Monitor map Thursday classified the majority of the state being in “exceptional drought” conditions.
Phoenix Sky Harbor has only received 5 inches of rain in 2020, which is 3 inches below normal, National Weather Service Phoenix meteorologist Jaret Rogers said.
“It’s significant but not entirely unusual. There have been quite a few years we’ve been around 5 or even a little bit less. I think the difference is the distribution of rain. We had about 3.5 inches by the middle of April,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
Flagstaff has had 7.1 inches of snow this fall and winter. The weather service’s office there said that’s 21 inches below the average at this point of the season.
The cooling of the Pacific Ocean waters known as La Nina is expected to bring drier conditions to Arizona for the next several months.