Water resources specialists from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and cooperating partners are reporting that snowpack levels in Arizona’s river basins are well above normal; ranging from 131 percent to 334 percent of average.

Despite the heavy early snowpack, however, the long-range forecast calls for normal to below normal stream flow levels for the spring runoff period.

Statewide, the Jan. 1 snowpack measured at 248 percent of the 30-year average, compared with 98 percent a year ago. The Verde River Basin snowpack was measured at an impressive 334 percent of the average for this time of year.

“Several major snowstorms during the latter half of December resulted in the heavy snowpack we now see throughout the mountains of northern and eastern Arizona,” said NRCS Water Resources Specialist Dino DeSimone.

On the Salt River near Roosevelt, the runoff forecast calls for 100 percent of median stream flow levels (385,000 acre-feet) for the January-May forecast period.

On the Verde River at Horseshoe Dam, the long-term runoff prediction calls for 86 percent of median stream flow levels (190,000 acre-feet) for January through May.

As of Jan. 1, the combined Salt River Project (SRP) system is at 90 percent of capacity with 2,072,000 acre-feet in storage. The SRP system covers the Verde and Salt River watersheds and includes six reservoirs; Horseshoe and Bartlett on the Verde River, and Roosevelt, Apache, Canyon, and Saguaro on the Salt River. At San Carlos, reservoir storage stands at 217,000 acre-feet, or about 25 percent of capacity.

NRCS makes snow measurements throughout the winter to forecast and track the state’s surface water supplies for the coming year. The report is used by farmers, ranchers, municipal water suppliers, and other water users to help manage limited water supplies.