Arizona is currently in our 26th 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 9 or 10 normal or wetter than normal years during the past 26 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 Long-term Drought Status
The February SPI and SPEI data are not yet available to generate the long-term drought map. When the data become available the map will be added to this page. Little improvement is expected as all parts of the state were much drier than average in February, except the White Mountains. The outlook calls for drier and warmer conditions to continue due to La Nina.
Posted February 2021
The next long-term drought update will be posted when the data become available, hopefully mid-March.