What is the water year?
The water year is an approximation for the best consecutive 12 months that span the “water storage/water usage” hydrologic cycle. The water year cycle is particularly obvious in the Rocky Mountains and western U.S. where snow begins to accumulate at high elevations in October and doesn’t melt and run off until next spring and summer. But this same important annual cycle takes different forms across the entire country.
Another way to think of the Water Year is the resting/replenishing season followed by the water consuming season where vegetation grows, crops are grown and then harvested. For much of the country, the months of October through March are months where precipitation from the sky exceeds evaporation from the ground. This means that soil moisture and ground water can recharge. The next spring temperatures will warm again, plants will come back from dormancy and once again evapotranspiration will surge.
CoCoRaHs is the acronym for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. CoCoRaHS is a unique, non-profit, community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow). By using low-cost measurement tools, stressing training and education, and utilizing an interactive Web-site, our aim is to provide the highest quality data for natural resource, education and research applications.
CoCoRaHs Master Gardener Guide: www.cocorahs.org/Content.aspx?page=MasterGardener
To become a CoCoRaHs volunteer, visit: www.cocorahs.org/application.aspx
The Tennessee CoCoRaHs page is: www.cocorahs.org/state.aspx?state=tn