Private well owners and suburban water companies and wildlife living around Tucson are reaping the benefits of this fall's and winter's robust rainfall.
It's been raining at nearly twice the normal rate since October.
But Tucson Water customers aren't so lucky, because the snowpack that feeds their prime water source is looking a lot less lush right now. That's the Upper Colorado River Basin, whose streams and mountains provide the raw material for the Central Arizona Project water that leaves Lake Havasu for a 336-mile journey by pipeline and concrete canal to Phoenix and Tucson.
Total rainfall at Tucson International Airport from October through January topped 6 inches -- 6.04, to be exact. That is the wettest for the period since 8.05 inches fell between October 2000 through January 2001. The normal for the period is 3.33 inches. The record, from back in 2014-15, is 10.79 inches.
In the Colorado River's Upper Basin, however, snowpack levels on Feb. 1st were only 79 percent of normal, down from 100 percent of normal on January 1. The forecast for river runoff into Lake Powell for April through July dropped in the same period from 91 to 73 percent of normal.
Translated into raw numbers, the expected spring-summer runoff has dropped from to 6.5 million to 5.2 mlllion acre-foot between the January and February forecasts, says the federal Colorado River Basin Forecast Center in Salt Lake City. That 1.3 million acre feet is only a few hundred thousand acre feet less than what the CAP takes annually from the river.
Read more in Thursday's Star.