Strong winter of precipitation helps boost metro Phoenix reservoir levels
PHOENIX — Metro Phoenix reservoir levels have risen in recent months as a result of an above-average stretch of precipitation across the state.
Salt River Project’s six dams are 80% full as of Friday, up from 63% at the start of December.
Strong precipitation levels and runoff from the high country, notably Flagstaff, are fueling the increase, according to Mark O’Malley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Phoenix.
“We’ve got a sufficient amount of snow that will really recharge the local reservoirs with the runoff this spring,” O’Malley told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
Flagstaff has received about 9 inches of precipitation since the start of December, nearly twice the expected total across that time.
Drought levels statewide have also drastically decreased due to high levels of rain and snow.
About 42% of the state isn’t facing short-term drought problems, up from 12% at the start of the year.
Most of the remaining areas facing drought conditions are in the rural parts of the state.
Check out the current #snowpack (left) compared to this time last year (right) from @USDA_NRCS. Across most of the West, conditions are looking much better, especially in California and the Great Basin. Many watersheds are close to, or above, the long-term average. #drought pic.twitter.com/9MIB2H3FR3
— Drought Center (@DroughtCenter) February 14, 2023
“The amount of drought in the state has dropped significantly,” O’Malley said.
The drought reversal started over the summer due to a strong monsoon season, according to O’Malley.
“A beneficial monsoon season really helped with the soil moisture and now the rain and snow in the winter has really just kept us over, so the short-term impacts have really relinquished across a good portion of the state,” O’Malley said.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.
We want to hear from you.
Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.