As northern reservoirs drop, central Arizona reservoirs are 72% full

By Ron Dungan
Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2022 - 8:01am
Updated: Wednesday, April 20, 2022 - 8:02am

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Falling levels in northern Arizona reservoirs have raised concerns about the state’s water supply during the ongoing drought.

But other sources of water supplying metro Phoenix are at healthier levels.

Although the bathtub ring at Lake Powell has made headlines as the Colorado River drops, the Salt and Verde rivers have always been a major source of water for the Valley. Just a couple of years ago, a few wet winters filled central Arizona’s reservoirs.

Tres Rios Wetlands
Katherine Davis-Young/KJZZ
The Salt River flows through the Tres Rios Wetlands in Phoenix

As the 2022 spring runoff winds down, Salt River Project is looking back on one of the drier winters on record, yet central Arizona reservoirs are 72% full.

“We get our runoff during the winter, but from different mechanisms, with winter rainfall being very important, which is not the case on the Colorado River,” said Bo Svoma, of Salt River Project.

He says that summer monsoons are good for ecosystems but generally don’t generate much runoff.

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