UTAH DROUGHT

Utah reservoir levels continue to drop with ongoing drought

Jul 15, 2021, 2:17 PM | Updated: 3:19 pm
pineview utah reservoir levels...
The north and south branches of the South Fork of the Ogden River flow into Pineview Reservoir near Huntsville, Weber County, on Monday, June 28, 2021. Statewide, reservoir levels are currently averaging lower than they were in October 2020. Photo: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The latest update on Utah drought conditions from the Utah Department of Natural Resources show statewide, reservoir levels are lower than they were at the end of irrigation season last fall.

That means many communities have exhausted the water supply from this winter’s snowpack and are now dipping into their reserves.  

Utah reservoir levels lower than last fall

In a news release, Utah DNR officials said reservoir levels currently fall below their levels from the end of the 2020 irrigation season, in October. 

“We are no longer pulling water from this year’s runoff,” said executive director Brian Steed. “Instead, we’re relying on water that has been stored in our reservoirs during previous years. We’re pulling water from our emergency savings.” 

Steed cautioned against using too much of the water reserves too quickly during the extreme drought. 

“No one knows how long this drought will last, so it’s vital that we avoid using our stored water too quickly,” he added. “Failing to save water now could lead to far more difficult circumstances later.” 

Roughly three months remain in the irrigation season for 2021, according to Utah DNR. 

Utah drought conditions updated weekly

Each week, the agency monitors the current Utah drought conditions and sends out a report on any changes. Among this week’s insights: 

  • 26 of Utah’s largest 42 reservoirs sit below 55% capacity. 
  • Reservoir storage statewide currently averages 58%, down from 59% a week ago. 
  • The average statewide reservoir levels in October, at the end of irrigation season, were 61%. 
  • The elevation of the Great Salt Lake currently sits around 2.5 to 3 inches above its historic low, set in 1963. 

The Great Salt Lake reached its historic low of 4191.4 feet in 1963. 

So far, storms that produced flash flooding across southern Utah have not generated much relief in the northern half of the state. A storm system could provide some moisture for northern Utah, but most of the rain will stay to the south. 

Today’s Top Stories

Utah Drought

Photo courtesy of the Utah Department of Natural Resources...
Chandler Holt

Some Utah areas see slight drop in drought levels

A drought update from the Utah Division of Water Resources offers a glimpse of good news for Utah. Division spokesman Michael Sanchez says you can thank a good monsoonal season for a slight drop in the percentage of the state that is in extreme drought or worse
2 days ago
The water level at Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US by volume, is at its lowest since it ...
Nouran Salahieh and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

More human remains discovered in Lake Mead’s receding waters

More human remains have been found in the receding waters of Lake Mead, authorities announced Saturday. This is the fourth time human remains have been found at Lake Mead National Recreation Area since May.
7 days ago
Four American white pelicans forage in Utah Lake on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. The Daybreak Water Compan...
Martha Harris

Low water levels at Utah Lake cause restrictions for Daybreak

The Daybreak Water Company says its secondary access at Utah Lake is restricted due to low water levels. However, a expert says those restrictions are in place for the health of the lake.
9 days ago
sprinkler is pictured. Secondary water is used for irrigation....
Kate Davis

Utah Board of Water Resources approves nearly $200 million to build secondary water meters

Grants totaling around $190 million will be used to build over 100,000 new secondary water meters across the state of Utah.
9 days ago
water restrictions Washington County...
Simone Seikaly

Restrictions on golf courses, non-functional grass among Washington County strict water rules

The new Washington County water ordinances also ask residents and businesses to use secondary, or untreated water for outdoor use when available.
11 days ago
A woman places a statue on water-wise landscaping...
Devin Oldroyd

New poll says Utahns want incentives for water-wise landscaping

A new poll shows half of Utahns believe incentives for water-wise landscaping would be the best way to encourage water conservation.
13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Utah reservoir levels continue to drop with ongoing drought