Gov. Cox issues another emergency drought order for Utah

Apr 21, 2022, 6:52 PM | Updated: May 12, 2022, 8:47 am

Colorado River Basin...

FILE: Low water levels at Lake Powell, December 18, 2021. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utahns are being told to brace themselves for another potentially drought year.  Governor Spencer Cox issued another emergency drought declaration for Utah for the second year in a row.

Despite recent storms, and future ones, Cox said the state didn’t get enough snow in the mountains to make up from last year’s severe drought.  However, he said Utahns drastically reduced the amount of water they were giving their lawns in 2021, which saved billions of gallons.

Utah emergency drought

During his monthly press conference, Cox said, “Last summer, I asked Utahns to pray for rain, which helped, but we’re certainly not relying solely on deity to solve our problems.”

Cox said the state has been in a drought for the past 10 years. And that the snowpack is roughly 25 percent lower than it would normally be.  Most of the streams water officials have measured are running at below normal. Over 93 percent of the state is in “severe drought” or worse.

“Right now, our statewide reservoir storage is at about 59 percent of capacity,” Cox said.

In 2021, some conservancy districts turned off their secondary water early. And some small towns had to bring in drinking water by truck.  Utah Division of Water Resources Drought Coordinator Laura Haskell said most of the state’s water is used inside homes, so cutting back on lawn watering and waiting until dishwashers and washing machines are full can help conserve a lot. 

Could we run out of drinking water?

“There aren’t areas that I’m aware of, right now, that are going to run out of drinking water,” Haskell said.  “That is something that, especially with the drought response committee, it is at the top of the list of priorities.”

Haskell said some cities may have to find creative ways to bring in more water. However, the emergency drought declaration can allow the state to look at ways to redistribute more to areas that are in trouble.  Plus, it allows the state to bring more water out of the ground.

She said, “The state engineer can authorize funds for drilling emergency wells.”

We want to hear from you.

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

Utah Drought

Deseret News writer Joe Bauman in the background looks at the irrigation ditches with no water and ...

Adam Small

More than half of Utah is now ‘abnormally dry,’ but still not in a drought.

The latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor lists 53% of Utah's land as 'abnormally dry' but the state is still not in a drought.

12 hours ago

East/west traffic on 4700 South at Bangerter Highway is going to shut down for a year due to constr...

Adam Small

How Utah construction workers are battling triple digit heat

Construction crews are having to deal with intense heat in Utah state this summer by taking breaks and communicating with one another.

8 days ago

Shrinking Great Salt Lake...

Ben Winslow, FOX 13

Lake-effect drought? New study shows a shrinking Great Salt Lake may exacerbate Utah’s drought conditions

A new study shows the impact of the shrinking Great Salt Lake could be exacerbating drought conditions.

10 days ago

Colorado River Basin...

Adam Small

Utah, other Colorado River Basin states want to ensure conserved water gets to Lake Powell

Water managers from Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico recently adopted a resolution to begin work to create a program that tracks conserved water.

11 days ago

Great Salt Lake...

Adam Small

Great Salt Lake and Lake Powell reach multi-year highs, but one is already losing water

Great Salt Lake and Lake Powell have seen increased their water levels however, Great Salt Lake has started to recede.

23 days ago

Parts of Utah have been given a heat advisory on Sunday. A view of the state Capitol and the Salt L...

Kennedy Camarena

Parts of Utah under excessive heat warning

Utah has been given two different kinds of heat advisories for parts of the state by the National Weather Service on Sunday.

27 days ago

Sponsored Articles

A young woman smiles while reading the menu at a lakeside restaurant, enjoying the panoramic view o...

Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

The best restaurants to try in Bear Lake

Save this guide to the best restaurants in Bear Lake when you need to find a place to dine during your next visit.

Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept....

Health Utah

Sustainable weight loss: the science-backed way to achieve it

Learn more about Debbie's weight loss journey with Health Utah, who have a unique weight loss philosophy for success.

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

Gov. Cox issues another emergency drought order for Utah