Arizona’s historic dry summer hasn’t affected SRP reservoirs and ability to provide reliable water
Despite a record-setting dry summer — the hottest monsoon for the Phoenix area and the driest monsoon season on record for the Salt River Project watershed — an SRP official says the water reservoir system is in good shape.
The SRP reservoir system, consisting of six reservoirs and dams that supply water to the Valley, is 80 percent full as of Oct. 12. This compares to 68 percent full this time last year.
Productive winters for three of the last four years have provided ample water to supply about 750,000 acre-feet or about 244 billion gallons of water to the more than 2 million people in the Valley this year.
“SRP relies more on winter precipitation for water than the monsoon season rainfall. We’ve had above normal rainfall and snowmelt three out of the last four winters, so we’ve been able to store water in anticipation of these drier seasons,” said Dr. Bo Svoma, an SRP meteorologist.
Svoma also thanked customers for continuing to use water wisely and conserve.
Looking ahead, La Niña will likely bring about a continued trend of dry weather this winter, Svoma said.
"Fortunately for SRP, even with the multidecadal drought and the prospects of yet another dry winter, SRP's reservoir system is holding adequate water for the next several years thanks to the recent string of wet winters," Svoma said.
Although recent research suggests that the average streamflow in the SRP watershed will be less impacted by climate change, there will still be some noticeable impacts as climate model projections suggest that Arizona can expect more extreme weather patterns; bigger floods; and more severe droughts.
Which is why water conservation is still important, Svoma said.
“What this means is conserving and managing the water we get on our watershed is critical,” Svoma said. “Water is precious in the desert, and every drop that can be stored during the wet periods we experience can provide water for customers during the inevitable dry periods.”
SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP is also the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 750,000 to 800,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.