Arizona is in a Serious Drought
Arizona is one of the driest states in the country, but for the last several years, the state has received enough rainfall to keep it out of a severe drought. In mid-April, the US Drought Monitor showed that almost the entire state (more than 90%) is currently experiencing a severe drought. How is this affecting growers in the region, and what can they do to help ensure their yields?
Current Rainfall & Future Predictions
Per information from the US Drought Monitor, more than 90% of the state of Arizona is experiencing severe drought, and this includes all of Santa Cruz County, part of Cochise County, and part of Pima County, as well. Nearly half of the state is experiencing “extreme” drought conditions, and even worse, 4% of the state is in the exceptional drought category, which is the worst possible scenario. Per statistics from the same source, Arizona has not experienced exceptional drought since 2013, and even then, only 2% of the state was affected.
Rainfall has been scant throughout April. The Old Pueblo is 0.76” below normal for the year, and going back six months, the deficit tops out at a shocking 2.5”. Tucson, one of the most heavily populated areas of Arizona, has received no rainfall at all in April, which is only worsening the situation. Experts estimate that in order to break out of the drought, Southern Arizona will need to see some six inches of rainfall in a single month, which is highly unlikely. Meteorologists and agronomy specialists say conditions are not likely to change much throughout the rest of the spring months.
How Experts Feel about the Water Situation in Arizona
Zack Guido, a climatologist for CLIMAS, told Tucson News Now that while periodic droughts are common, the slowly-increasing temperature is not. As a result, not only will Arizona need to rethink its contingency plans for water shortages, but people across the state – and much of the Southwestern US, for that matter – truly need to think about the ways in which they use water and put conservation efforts into place. Though the situation is not as dire in Arizona as in California thanks to the dependable summer monsoon, the lack of water during the spring impacts growers and puts restrictions on those living in the area.
Making the Most of Existing Moisture
Growers in areas affected by drought are scrambling to keep their crops watered and healthy despite some locations putting restrictions on the amount of water farmers can use for irrigation. As a result, growers are turning to new technologies designed to help them maintain typical yields with less water. AquiMax is a phenomenal solution that allows growers to maintain the same yields with 30% less water, and if growers across the region relied on technologies like these to amend their soil, conservation efforts could truly pay off.
Arizona seems to be following in the footsteps of California when it comes to drought, but unlike California, Arizona residents can look forward to summer monsoons that will replenish supplies somewhat. Regardless, experts say things in the American Southwest are not likely to change much in coming years, so now is the time for growers to think about the best ways to conserve water.