Arizona Drought

Arizona is currently in our 21st year of a long-term drought.  Drought in the West is a long-term concept where a single dry year does not constitute a drought.  Since Arizona has an arid and semi-arid climate, extreme variability in precipitation is normal, and drought is characterized by a string of drier than normal years, often interrupted by a few wetter than normal years.  Currently most watersheds in the state have experienced only 7 or 8 normal or wetter than normal years during the past 21 years.  The deep canyon topography of the Western U.S. is ideal for creating large reservoirs, such as Lakes Mead and Powell on the Colorado River, and Roosevelt Lake on the Salt River in Arizona.  The reservoirs provide an assured water supply in dry years, provided the drought does not last too long.  Currently the reservoirs in the Southwest are about half full and are supplying an ever increasing population.  For more information about the current status of Arizona reservoirs, see the Salt River Project (SRP) Daily Water Report.  For more information about the history of the Salt-Verde Reservoir system, visit SRPs historical website.  For current water levels on Lakes Mead and Powell, click on the links.

Current Short-term Drought Status

Short term drought status will be updated each week (Thursday) as the new drought monitor is published.

Prepared by the State Drought Monitoring Technical Committee.


Current Long-term Drought Status

Winter snowfall through December was much below average across the state, and it was particularly dry in southern Arizona.

Posted January 17, 2018

The update for January through March 2018 will be posted in late April.

Historical US Drought