Understanding What the ‘New Normal’ Means for Water in the West by Tara Lohan, News Deeply

April 12, 2018

The New “Normal” for Water in the West, "  After 20 years of drought conditions, some scientists are calling for better terminology to describe the impact of rising temperatures in the region. 

APRIL IS OFTEN a time of abundance in the mountains of the American West, when snowpack is at or near its peak, and forecasters work to determine how much runoff will course through our rivers and fill reservoirs later in the season.

This year, across much of the West, particularly the Southwest, there’s little in the way of abundance. At Lake Powell, the second-largest reservoir in the West, runoff is predicted to be only 43 percent of average. Arizona is looking at one of its lowest runoff years in history. And in New Mexico, stretches of the Rio Grande have already run dry, months ahead of normal.