In the “water world,” our New Year’s is Oct. 1, since the water year extends from October through the following September to give “water wonks” (those folks who are really into hydrology) a look at the year’s snowpack and runoff. Here’s a recap of the past water year – in animation and text:
- Winter 2021-2022 resulted in a below-average snowpack.
- Spring 2022 runoff into Lake Powell was abnormally low (71% of the 30-yr average).
- Summer 2022 continued hot and dry across the Upper Colorado River watershed.
- There was significant monsoon
precipitation across Arizona, Nevada and southern Utah, which provided unexpected inflow to (and decreased demand from) Lake Mead. This resulted in the lowest August release volume from Lake Mead in more than 20 years.
- The very low inflows contributed to significant depletion of storage in Lake Powell, which will impact releases to Lake Mead in Water Years 2023 and 2024, increasing the risk of deeper shortages to Arizona in the coming years.