The DNR’s Tim Hall says that year runs from Iowa from October of last year to the end of September this year. He says it’s defined that way because after September, there’s no moisture that benefits the current growing season.
The current water year saw a little more than 42.5 inches of precipitation. “We are about seven inches above average,” Hall says, “if you go back and you look at 24 months — the water years of 2018 and 2019 together — we’re pushing 20 inches above normal for those two year. So, it’s been a very, very wet couple of years.”
The ground is full of water right now, and that can be a positive. “Generally in the fall going into the winter, having a wet soil profile is good — because it benefits us in the spring when the vegetation wants to get kicked off,” according to Hall. But he says if the ground stays saturated and we have a wet spring the wet soil profile can become a bad thing.
“There’s sort of some early precautionary flags being raised that we could find ourselves in a flood situation in the spring, depending on what happens in the winter,” Hall says. Hall says it’s a waiting game that depends on how much snow we get — and how much remains in the spring when it starts to melt.
“As we sit here today it could be a good thing — it could be a bad thing. It depends on what happens over the next three or four months,” Hall says. Wet ground delayed planting this last spring and that led to a delayed harvest for this year’s crop.
This was the seventh wettest and 45th warmest Water Year among 147 years of Iowa records. The back-to-back water years of 2018 and 2019 was the third wettest combined two years on record.