Water Summary Update: March 2023 – First below normal precipitation month of 2023
DES MOINES — After four months in a row of above normal precipitation, totals for March came in lower than normal. Precipitation for March was 1.49 inches, 0.5 inches below normal. As a result, streamflows have been impacted, and the western part of the state is now in “Drought Watch” as defined by Iowa’s new Drought Plan. While precipitation was below normal for most of the state, over the past 90 days precipitation has been above normal, thanks to wetter than normal conditions from November through February. It should be noted that “Drought Watch” is the least severe of the IDP designations, and should serve as a reminder for Iowans to be attentive to conditions. Normal April rainfall should be adequate to restore these two drought regions to normal conditions.
“While we have liked to see a continuation of the wetter than normal months we’ve seen lately, conditions are still relatively good. March was only 0.5 inches below normal, and that deficit can be made up over the spring months,” said Tim Hall, Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ coordinator of hydrology resources. “The Iowa Drought Plan has designated western Iowa, Drought Regions 1 and 4, as areas of ‘Drought Watch.’”
For a thorough review of Iowa’s water resource trends, go to www.iowadnr.gov/watersummaryupdate.
The report is prepared by technical staff from Iowa DNR, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, IIHR—Hydroscience and Engineering, and the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department.