WEATHER

Wild Weather: Utah in the midst of an ‘exceptional’ drought

Apr 27, 2021, 7:30 AM
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 — Despite some recent rainfall, weather experts say most of the Wasatch Front remains in the midst of a historic drought. 

 

Diving into the drought

Chances are if you live along the Wasatch Front, you probably heard the sound of rain hitting your roof or maybe the sidewalk for most of Monday. While just about everyone knew we needed some sustained rainfall, just how bad is it right now? Salt Lake County Watershed Manager Bob Thompson explained.

“For a lot of the state, the snowpack is hovering between 50 and 60-percent of average, which is really low,” he explained.

He also expects the snowpack to last a little longer before melting compared to other low water years. When it does melt though, expect it to happen fast.

“What that’s going to mean is very little of it will infiltrate into the ground and it’s all going to become surface water that just pummels our reservoirs,” said Thompson. “With that comes higher turbidity. The water is not as clean. So, it’s not ideal for filling lakes, rivers [and] streams.”

What can we do to help?

As we continue on, now more than a month since a state of emergency order was issued due to drought, it begs the question of what exactly can we do to help? Well, being smart with your water usage at home should be at the top of the list, according to Cynthia Bee with the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District.

“Once it is time to begin regular watering, later in May, just watering one less time per week,” she explains. “Your lawn is never going to need water every single day. Not even in July.”

In fact, no matter where it comes from, Salt Lake County is challenging you to use 5% less water this year. They said if just a quarter of all the county residents do this, then it would save 2 million gallons of water per day.

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