The 2004 and 2005 water years illustrate why water managers in Utah generally describe the water supply as 'feast or famine.' In September 2004, Utah was finishing its sixth year of drought. Most reservoirs were substantially drained and the soil was parched. In contrast, in September 2005 Utah was finishing a water year that set new records for peak discharge and total annual streamflow.
The 2004 water year ended on September 30, 2004. The 2005 water year brought with it a significant change in the weather, beginning with intense rainfall in the Virgin River basin of southwestern Utah. Only minor flooding resulted from this storm; however, it provided soil moisture that would contribute to severe flooding during January 2005.
Flooding and streamflow in Utah during water year 2005