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One Wet Year Doesn't Mean the Drought Is Over

Rivers are high and drought conditions have been lifted, but experts say that the 19-year drought in Colorado isn't over.
July 21, 2019, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Reflection Canyon, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

"Though 2019 has brought deep snowpack and heavy rain, we’re still in the midst of a 19-year drought that threatens waterways, landscapes, and communities throughout the West," writes Jay Bouchard.

One wet year doesn't resolve the long-term trend of water scarcity, according to the data and experts cited in article.

The long-term trend is this: Since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) introduced the U.S. Drought Monitor in 2000, Colorado has been bone dry. There have been a handful of wet years, but Colorado has been in a near-constant state of drought—including almost eight straight years from 2001 to 2009.

Moreover, the challenges in Colorado have repercussions for all of the states and communities downstream of Colorado on the Colorado River—as is made obvious by the water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead.

A great challenge facing public officials is to educate the public, and rally around the idea of water conservation even in wet years.

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Published on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 in 5280
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