Arizona panel recommends statewide drought emergency declaration

Salt River Canyon
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Arizona’s Drought Interagency Coordinating GroupOpens in a new tab. recommended at its November 10 meeting that the state’s governor continue to declare a statewide drought emergency.

In a news release from the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR)Opens in a new tab., Director Tom Buschatzke is quoted as saying, “From my standpoint, we heard a couple of plusses,” noting a report that in-state water supplies appear to be in good shape.  “But from my viewpoint, the negatives far outweigh the positives, in particular Colorado River water supplies are decreasing.”

Although June through September yielded the ninth-wettest year on record due to strong monsoon activity, Dr. Erinanne Saffell, the Arizona State Climatologist, reported that the 2022 Water Year was the 51st driest water year out of 127.

La Niña conditions are expected to continue for a third straight year, but summer rainfalls may increase, helping soil moisture conditions.  “A wetter watershed could help reduce the notorious ‘dry sponge’ effect that has caused snowpack to be absorbed into dry soil on its way to the Colorado River system,” ADWR reported, adding “The panel also heard presentations on Colorado River water supplies (bad-to-scary bad) as well as water supply conditions within the Salt River and Verde River watersheds (good-to-comparatively great).”

Image Credit and Description:

“VIEW OF SALT RIVER AT THE HORSE MESA DAM SITE, LOOKING UPSTREAM (1924) – Horse Mesa Dam, Salt River, 65 miles East of Phoenix, Phoenix, Maricopa County, AZ,” Library of Congress via Wikimedia CommonsOpens in a new tab..


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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December 2, 2022 12:28 pm
I suspect Arizona staying in a ‘drought state’ is accurate. It’s probably a good idea. Talk of a wetter summer is nice but we’ll see if it happens. Maybe we’ll get a few very good snow falls to help out. I get disheartened with the direness of the water situation.

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