In the “water world,” our New Year’s is October 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. So, Water Year 2021 has just ended and now it’s on to Water Year 2022.
So, how did the 2021 Water Year shape up?
- Winter 2020-2021 resulted in a below-average snowpack
- Spring 2021 runoff into Lake Powell was abnormally low (26% of the 30-yr average), the second lowest on record
- Summer 2021 continued hot and dry across the Upper Colorado River watershed
- There was significant monsoon precipitation across Arizona, Nevada and southern Utah, which provided some minor inflow to Lake Mead
- The very low inflows contributed to significant depletion of storage in Lake Powell, which will impact releases to Lake Mead in Water Years 2022 and 2023, increasing the risk of deeper shortages to Arizona in the coming years
Take at a look at our animation for a look at the 2021 Water Year in review.