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Published October 24, 2012
Arizona Reservoir Levels(data through 9/30/12)
Data Source(s): National Water and Climate Center
Combined storage in Lakes Mead and Powell is at 53.6 percent of capacity, a slight decrease from last month (Figure 6). The 2012 water year inflow to Lake Powell was only 45.3 percent of average, the third-lowest inflow since the closure of Glen Canyon Dam in 1963, according to the Bureau of Reclamation. The low inflow was primarily due to a lack of winter snowpack in the Upper Colorado River Basin. Scant precipitation was related to the La Niña event, which helped push storms north of the region. Aside from lakes Mohave and Havasu in the Lower Colorado River Basin, the Salt River Basin reservoir system is the only other location in the state with above-average storage reported.
In water-related news, the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) will be partnering with Salt River Project (SRP) to restore Gila River riparian habitat and create water storage credits that the community can eventually sell to finance future infrastructure development and other projects (Ahwatukee Foothills News, October 5). GRIC secured more than 311,000 acre-feet of Central Arizona Project water in the 2004 Arizona Water Settlements Act.
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 Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
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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