WEATHER

Emergency order extended for drought, Utah Farm Bureau praying for rain

May 14, 2021, 9:48 AM | Updated: 1:04 pm

14-year-old drowns at Newcastle Reservoir....

Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s one of the worst water situations the state has seen in three decades.  The governor is extending his executive order declaring a state of emergency due to drought conditions, and water watchers say our scenario is far worse than people most people would believe. 

Drought emergency compounded by low precipitation

Several small problems combine to make one huge one when it comes to our water situation.  For one, precipitation is extremely low.  Utah Snow Survey Supervisor Jordan Clayton says if we were in the 50th percentile, that would be considered average.

“Right now, we’ve entered a domain were we’re below what we could call 0th percentile,” he said. 

Clayton also says the monitors placed along many streams in northern Utah show very little movement. Many streams are getting little to no snowmelt.

“I think most alarmingly is our runoff forecasts are for between 15 and 40 percent of normal streamflow,” he says.

Snowpack providing little relief

Extremely dry mountain soils are the biggest reason for the ineffective runoff.  Clayton says a lot of the water is being absorbed into the dirt.

“What we were afraid of is the water coming out of our snowpack was going to drain into the soil but just replenish what was there and not actually get much further downstream,” Clayton said.  “That’s exactly what’s happening, right now.”

Statewide, reservoirs measure roughly 15% lower than usual, and forecasters predict some of our basins will receive just 25% of what they normally do in any given year.

“We’re at the point where we just haven’t seen the state looking this dry over the last 30 years,” Clayton said.

Farmers, ranchers band together in weekend of prayer

Utah farmers and ranchers are banding together in prayer this weekend as they grapple with one of the worst water situations in decades. Utah Farm Bureau president Ron Gibson, a dairy farmer in Weber County, says this is truly a historic drought.

“It was the driest winter that I’ve ever seen in my fifty years and my dad says it’s about the driest that he’s ever seen,” he explains. “We’re working really hard to try to keep this all moving and going forward, but we can’t do it without the natural resources that make that possible.”

He says Utah farmers are doing everything possible to maximize low-water crops, although it isn’t a sustainable solution.

“From my own perspective, I’ve done just about everything I can do from a water conservation standpoint,” says Gibson. “There’s not anyone who can fix this except for the guy upstairs.”

This weekend I will join Ron Gibson and Utah Farm Bureau Federation in a day of fast and prayer for rain.

Our farmers and ranchers are suffering. Please join me in asking God to bless our desert.

Posted by Congressman Chris Stewart on Friday, May 14, 2021

The Utah Farm Bureau is now preparing for a weekend of fasting and prayer for rain. Congressman Chris Stewart has already announced on Facebook that he plans on participating in the effort. 

We want to hear from you.

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

Weather

...

Alex Cabrero

South Jordan residents react to thousands of tumbleweeds in front of their homes

As heavy winds blew through a Daybreak neighborhood in South Jordan, avoiding tumbleweeds kind of became a sport.

15 hours ago

Salt Lake City International Airport is also being impacted by the winterstorm moving through Utah....

Mark Jones

Delays, cancelations reported at Salt Lake City International Airport

As of 7:40 p.m. on Saturday, airport officials said 146 flights had been delayed, which is 39% of the departing flights.

15 hours ago

Crews working on a power pole that was damaged when heavy winds blew through the area near Shivwits...

Derrick Jones

Power restored to thousands, work continues, after winter slams Utah

Rocky Mountain Power attributed the outages to power lines downed or damaged by the wind and snow.

19 hours ago

Tumbleweeds surround an Eagle Mountain home on March 2, 2024. (Photo credit: Brennen Katsos)...

Josh Ellis

High winds hit Wasatch Front as storm moves in

Winds will continue to increase over western Utah valleys Saturday ahead of a front and spread into southern Utah.

23 hours ago

A lone camper truck moves north bound on the I-80 at the Donner Pass Exit on Friday, March 1, 2024,...

SCOTT SONNER, Associated Press

Blizzard ‘as bad as it gets’ hits California, Nevada. Strip of I-80 shut down

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning through Sunday for a 300-mile stretch of the mountain range.

23 hours ago

Winter conditions...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Here’s what to expect as remnants of California blizzard head to Utah

Much of Utah is under a winter weather advisory as remnants of California's blizzard heads to Utah. Wind and cold temperatures on the way.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Emergency order extended for drought, Utah Farm Bureau praying for rain