Arizona has made major investments in importing and storing water supplies for the major metropolitan areas, and those investments have significantly buffered these areas from impacts during the current drought. However, drought conditions over the past decade in some parts of rural Arizona have had devastating personal and economic impacts. The most urgent need for drought preparedness is in these growing communities in the rural regions of the state, where alternative water supplies are generally very limited and the economy is strongly affected by drought (particularly farming and ranching, recreation, tourism and forestry-related sectors)
ADWR's Drought Program takes a statewide approach to drought preparedness and response, but assistance is especially focused on rural areas through the programs and activities below. The 2013 Arizona Drought Preparedness Annual Report summarizes drought conditions and drought preparedness activities for water year 2013 (October 2012 - September 2013).
The Drought Status web page
contains information on short and long-term drought status.
Planning and Reporting for Water Providers
State statutes established in 2005 require drinking water providers to develop water supply, conservation and drought plans. The requirements also expand annual water use reporting to the entire state (for community water systems). Water providers can visit the community water system web page for further information.
The State Drought Monitoring Technical Committee gathers and evaluates drought, climate and weather data and distributes that information to land managers, policy-makers and the public. An important goal of the committee is to provide early warning of changes in drought severity. Drought status maps and reports can be viewed on the drought status page.
Local Drought Planning
ADWR has worked with local leaders to establish county-level drought impact groups. The goals of these groups are to monitor drought status and impacts in their area, increase drought public awareness, and develop local mitigation and response options.
The Governor's Drought Interagency Coordinating Group is comprised of state, federal, tribal and non-governmental organizations. This group meets biannually and advises the governor on drought status, impacts, and any necessary preparedness and response actions.
Planning and Data Management Section
USDA Designates All Arizona's 15 Counties as Disaster Areas Due to Drought
The March 2014 designation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, covers Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Maricopa, Navajo and Yavapai counties. Last month Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yuma counties were designated as disaster areas. A Secretarial disaster designation makes farmers and ranchers in both primary and contiguous disaster areas eligible to be considered for federal low-interest emergency loans and other forms of assistance. For a list of current counties with disaster designations, visit the USDA Farm Service Agency website. For information about the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, contact the county Farm Service Agency offices or the Arizona State Farm Service Agency.
Current Drought Declarations
The Drought Interagency Coordinating Group meets biannually and makes recommendations to the governor about drought declarations.