VERDE VALLEY - The annual report of the statewide drought preparedness taskforce states, in essence, that most of Arizona remains under the same drought conditions it has been under since the mid-1990s.
A wetter than normal 2008, which finished with a snow-packed December, went dry as soon as 2009 arrived.
That lack of winter precipitation carried on into and through the summer as most of the state endured one of the driest monsoon seasons on record. Some watersheds in Arizona received as little as 30 percent of normal monsoon moisture.
The only area of the state to exceed the average was along the Mexican and New Mexican border in the far southeast corner.
For the 2009 water year, which runs between Oct. 1 and Sept. 30, the state received less than 70 percent of its annual average.
On the five-level drought scale, which runs from normal to extreme drought, eight watersheds across the state dropped one category and six dropped two levels. Currently all but one watershed is in moderate drought status or worse.
Most of the Verde River watershed is in severe drought status.
Reservoirs along the Salt and Verde remain in relatively good shape, primarily from two storm systems, one late last December and one in mid-January along with an unseasonably wet month of May.
However, the continued drought, along with higher than average temperatures this summer, continues to tax groundwater resources here in the Verde Valley and elsewhere in the state.