ENVIRONMENT

Salt Lake having very dry April, but Utah’s water supply is still in top-notch shape

Apr 19, 2024, 3:00 PM

Utah's water supply is doing well. Promontory Point during an EcoFlight around the Great Salt Lake....

Utah's water supply is doing well. Promontory Point during an EcoFlight around the Great Salt Lake on Tuesday, April 9, 2024. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY— While Utah’s water supply continues to get stronger, Salt Lake City saw a very abnormally dry start to April.

KSL Meteorologist Matt Johnson said the Salt Lake City International Airport registered only .34 inches of rain so far in April, when it normally gets 2.16 inches for the entire month. That’s only 15% of normal.

However, Johnson said, “It hurts, but it’s not the end of the world.”

The problem with infrequent rain is it dries out the soil.  When it stays that way, more water headed from our mountains to our lakes and reservoirs gets sucked up into the ground.

While he said there’s not a ton of concern today, Johnson said if it stays dry in May, we could lose more water than we’d like to the soil.

“If we go dry in May…maybe we have a conversation there, but I think it’s really too soon to make a call,” Johnson said.

Do people have reason to worry about Utah’s water?

Currently, Utah’s reservoirs are approaching 85% full on average statewide. The current snowpack still has nearly 15 inches of water in it. That’s just 7% below a yearly average, and already four inches of water have melted off of this year’s snowpack.

The soil also got plenty of rain in March. This is part of the reason why Johnson isn’t too concerned about a dry April.

Johnson said long-term forecasts are call for an equal chance of below average, average or above average rain. In short, anything could happen.

Despite the dry April, Utah’s reservoirs, outside of Lake Powell and Flaming Gorge are all expected to completely fill within the next couple of months.

The Great Salt Lake isn’t expected to fill, but it is forecasted to come close to or reach it’s healthy range for the first time in more than a decade.

Related:

PFAS chemicals found in Park City water, ski wax to blame

‘Great Salt Lake is our future’: Utah youth aim to inform, collaborate and inspire change

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Salt Lake having very dry April, but Utah’s water supply is still in top-notch shape