UTAH DROUGHT

Utah drought update: how did we fare this summer?

Oct 7, 2022, 5:00 PM

Utah lawmakers and elected officials recently took a trip to Isreal to see how the country effectiv...

The Antelope Island marina is dried up as the Great Salt Lake experiences record low water levels on Friday, July 22, 2022. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Great Salt Lake just dropped to another historic low despite Utah’s water conservation efforts.

Many of Utah’s reservoirs are at below-average levels as we head into a new water year according to the state’s latest drought update.

But despite those levels, State Drought Coordinator Laura Haskell said, many of our reservoirs show that Utah did do a good job of conserving water this summer.

“We only got about 75% of our normal snowpack peak, but we’re still at the same point that we were reservoir-wise. So even though we got less water coming in, we were careful, people conserved and we were able to end the year not any worse off than we did last year.”

The lake has consistently been losing two feet each summer, according to drought monitors in the state. Utah isn’t making up for that loss in the winter, so we’re continuing to see dropping levels.

Even if we get a great snowpack this year, it’ll still take years to recover from the current drought.

But it’s not all bad news, Haskell said. The rain we got in September will help our reservoirs this spring.

“When we have our snowmelt in the spring, if that’s wet, we get a lot more of the snowmelt going into our streams, going into our reservoirs instead of being absorbed into that dry ground.”

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Utah drought update: how did we fare this summer?