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Southwest Drought Briefing: December 13, 2021

Event Date
December 13, 2021
Event Time
12:00 pm - 12:35 pm

The most recent United States Drought Monitor indicates that all of the Southwest is experiencing some level of drought, but early fall precipitation has improved conditions. This short drought briefing focused on winter drought conditions and forecasts for Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. This was followed by a presentation on landscape water conservation during drought.

For more information, please contact Joel Lisonbee (


Welcome to the Southwest Drought Update

Speaker: Emile Elias | USDA Southwest Climate Hub

  • Welcome to the December 2021 Southwest Drought Briefing. These half-hour webinars will be held monthly for as long as this region is experiencing extreme and exceptional drought conditions.
  • Acknowledgment of land.
  • Learn more about the Southwest Drought Learning Network.
  • Introduction of the speakers:
    • Dr. Jon Meyer, Utah State University and Utah State Climate Center 
    • Dr. Heidi Kratsch, University of Nevada, Reno



Drought & Climate Update

Speaker: Dr. Jon Meyer | Utah State University and Utah State Climate Center 

  • Drought has worsened across Colorado and New Mexico over the past month, and drought has persisted across the rest of the West.
  • There has been exceptionally low snowpack in the western mountains so far this season.
  • We had an optimistic start to the water season, which then “flatlined” in November.
  • The short-term forecast shows favorable precipitation for December, but the long-term forecast is dominated by a La Niña pattern that is not good for long-term drought.



Landscape Water Conservation in Nevada During Drought

Speaker: Dr. Heidi Kratsch | University of Nevada, Reno

  • Nearly 75% of household water use in Nevada is for outdoor use.
  • In Nevada, during the growing season all outdoor vegetation needs irrigation. There simply isn’t enough precipitation. Trees and shrubs use less water than grass and turf.
  • Learn more about sustainable landscaping at



Questions & Answers

Speaker: Joel Lisonbee | NOAA/National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)