Water year 2004: Western water managers feel the heat
Article first published online: 3 JUN 2011
©2004. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union
Volume 85, Issue 40, pages 385–393, 5 October 2004
How to Cite
2004), Water year 2004: Western water managers feel the heat, Eos Trans. AGU, 85(40), 385–393, doi:10.1029/2004EO400001., , , , and (
- Issue published online: 3 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 3 JUN 2011
This spring, a rare combination of exceptionally warm temperatures and near-record lack of precipitation in the western United States caused a rapid change in hydrologic conditions and an unexpectedly early onset of spring conditions.
With much of the western U.S. already in its fifth year of drought, an above-average western snowpack on 1 March 2004 provided hope for much-needed abundant runoff. Unfortunately snowmelt began far earlier than anticipated, resulting in dramatic declines in seasonal spring-summer streamflow forecasts as the month proceeded, declines more rapid by some measures than ever before in the past 75 years. With reservoirs near historic lows, many water users have been hard pressed to deal with the continuing drought.