Drought is not over

Tim Wiederaenders/The Daily Courier<br>
Bone-dry grass from a good 2014 monsoon and dead cedar trees are ready to burn, rather than grow, this past month northwest of Prescott.

Tim Wiederaenders/The Daily Courier<br> Bone-dry grass from a good 2014 monsoon and dead cedar trees are ready to burn, rather than grow, this past month northwest of Prescott.

Many people think once we receive a good monsoon total or a great month of rain the 20-plus year drought is at an end.

Think again.

Apparently beginning this month and continuing through February, Arizona should be entering El Niño conditions that could bring above-average rainfall.

Sounds great - but we need to remember we must not only exceed the historic annual rainfall total (more than 18 inches), we also must begin to make up for the precipitation deficit of prior years.

Think of it like the national debt. The president or Congress might balance the budget, but that keeps only the debt from growing - it does not pay it off.

Susanna Eden, assistant director for the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center in Tucson: "We're still in a drought," she said. "We got some good rainfall, but we would need a lot more to take us out of the drought."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Science & Services Monthly Climate Update showed that as of this month, 29.5 percent of the contiguous United States is in a drought.

What do you think? When will this cycle change? Will we ever return to the wet years of the 1990s? What do you do to conserve water in the meantime?

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