The 2015 Water Year: Drought continues despite heavy rainfall. Here’s why

Despite 50 Inches of Rain, Thurston County is in a Drought

It may surprise people to look at the current precipitation amounts and conclude that we are indeed in a drought. If you look solely at those precipitation numbers for 2015 you would not suspect that Thurston County was suffering from an acute drought. That is because a drought is not caused by lack of precipitation alone. It involves a much more complex set of climate conditions that, together, create the parched conditions from the mountains to the sea and from the land surface to the underground aquifers. These conditions also must persist over several months or seasons. The sections below provide some facts that explain why we are currently in a declared drought in Thurston County and Washington State.

In general, droughts are very complex and caused by a number of factors. Read the full report (PDF).

Note: The 2015 Water Year report covers the ‘water year’ which runs from Oct. 2014 -Sept. 2015.

The 2014 Water Year: Equipment upgrades help us stay better informed

In 2014, the Resource Stewardship, Water Resources Group completed equipment and software upgrades of all Environmental Monitoring Program sites in its inventory. There are 122 data collection sites that are managed by the Water Resources Group located all across Thurston County. These sites consist of data collection equipment that measure multiple types of environmental conditions ranging from groundwater to atmospheric parameters and streamflow/river flow conditions. The data is collected, processed to Department of Ecology standards, and provided to users in many formats.

The 2014 Water Year Report (PDF)

Note: The 2014 Water Year report covers the ‘water year’ which runs from Oct. 2013 -Sept. 2014.