ALL NEWS

Gov. Cox declares Utah’s drought a state of emergency

Mar 17, 2021, 4:33 PM | Updated: 5:10 pm
Snowpack is already seemingly low, but some grant money could help U of U researchers develop bette...
File photo: A mix of a shallow snowpack and dry hillsides can be seen in Emigration Canyon on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. (PHOTO: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(PHOTO: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is, again, under a state of emergency. But this time the order from Governor Spencer Cox is unrelated to the pandemic.

Rather,  Cox signed an executive order Wednesday, stating that Utah’s drought is a problem. With 100% of the state experiencing moderate drought and 90% of the state under extreme drought conditions, Cox asked Utahns to evaluate their water use.

RELATED:  Wind and drought will affect fall leaves this year

“We’ve been monitoring drought conditions carefully and had hoped to see significant improvement from winter storms,” said Cox. “Unfortunately, we have not received enough snow to offset the dry conditions. I ask Utahns to evaluate their water use and find ways to save not only because of current drought conditions but also because we live in one of the driest states in the nation.”

Following a record-breaking dry summer, Utah is currently experiencing roughly 70% of its normal snowpack, which the state relies on to provide water to residents.

In order for Utah’s snowpack to reach average levels, the mountains would need to see about 30% more snowfall prior to significant melting. And, there’s around a 10% chance of that happening, according to Cox’s office.

Additionally, the state’s soil moisture is at the lowest its been since 2006.

RELATED:  National Weather Service: the majority of Utah is in a drought

“Extremely dry soils mean that when we do receive precipitation, the ground will soak it up first and reduce the runoff that typically fills reservoirs, lakes and streams,” said Brian Steed, executive director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources.

“We urge people to consider ways they can save water and help be part of the solution. The state also offers water-saving and money-saving rebates to help with both indoor and outdoor conservation.”

Wednesday’s emergency declaration clears the way for the state to apply for federal aid to address the issue in Utah’s drought-affected communities, such as the agriculture sector. 

Cox issued the drought order after the Drought Review and Reporting Committee recommended he do so, thus activating the Drought Response Committee.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Computer systems in the Alpine School District are being investigated after the district's technolo...
Adam Small

Alpine schools investigating “suspicious” computer activity

The issue involves the Alpine district's computer software. On Tuesday, its security team noticed suspicious activity.
9 hours ago
Watershed Enhancement Trust, which aims to get water back to the lake. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret ...
Amie Schaeffer

$40M Great Salt Lake trust beginning work with newly formed council

The council will assist the trust as it looks for solutions to improve lake water levels.
9 hours ago
Legendary quarterback Tom Brady has announced his retirement after 23 seasons in the NFL....
Ben Church, CNN

Tom Brady announces retirement: ‘I’m retiring for good’

Tom Brady announces retirement.
9 hours ago
A man died early Wednesday morning when he was hit by a driver going the the wrong way on I-15 near...
Amie Schaeffer

One person killed in wrong-way collision on I-15 near Beck Street

According to Sgt. Cameron Roden with the Utah Highway Patrol, a vehicle entered the interstate going southbound in northbound lanes when it hit another car. 
9 hours ago
Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish ...
Kate Sullivan and Kylie Atwood, CNN

Nikki Haley expected to announce presidential run in Charleston on Feb. 15

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is expected to announce her intention to run for President in a few weeks.
9 hours ago
Instagram co-founders Mike Krieger (left) and Kevin Systrom are pictured here during the 2019 SXSW ...
Jennifer Korn, CNN

Instagram’s founders are back with a new app

The Instagram founders are back with a new app.
9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Gov. Cox declares Utah’s drought a state of emergency