UTAH DROUGHT

Triple digits temps and limited clouds have Utah reservoirs feeling the heat

Jul 12, 2021, 3:32 PM
utah reservoirs Echo water drought...
Low water levels are pictured in Echo Reservoir north of Coalville on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Officials say levels have dropped significantly since then. Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s not just the triple digit temperatures causing Utah reservoirs to dip to low levels, it’s also the lack of cloud cover.

And the larger the lake, the more water we lose.

“When you get not just consecutive days,” said KSL meteorologist Kevin Eubank, “anytime you get 100-degree-plus days, extra hot days without the type of cloud cover or other things that will limit the amount of envirotranspiration, you’re going to lose more surface water.”

Utah reservoirs, lakes lose water

The smaller lakes aren’t immune, though; those lakes experience faster evaporation as the temperatures creep up.

Officials with the Weber Basin Water Conservatory District (WBWCD) said that by the fall, Utahns will see the greatest impact from the heat in terms of water levels.

“You can expect those to be dropping very quickly through July,” said WBWCD General Manager Tage Flint. “And you can expect the reservoirs along the Weber and Ogden rivers to be surprisingly low by this fall. Lower that folks have seen them in decades.”

Utah residents seem to be doing their part

In early June, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox reached out to Utahns in a video with a specific request: to help ease the drought’s burden on our crops and wildlife, along with conservation measures like fixing leaking faucets and watering the lawn less, he asked Utahns to collaboratively pray for rain June 4 through June 6.

While nothing specific can be reported about that effort by the governor, those who manage water in Utah say they are noticing less water usage by the population.

Flint told KSL that between 50 to 60 percent of Utahns are complying with the request to water their lawns just twice a week.

Contributing: Simone Seikaly

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Triple digits temps and limited clouds have Utah reservoirs feeling the heat