Officials say new water year ‘off to a good start’ for Utah

Lake Powell. Photo: National Park Service

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 17, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Officials said Wednesday the new water year in Utah, which began Oct. 1, is “off to a good start.”

“We are roughly five weeks into the new water year, which began Oct. 1,” said a news release from the Utah Division of Water Resources. “This year is off to a good start with above-average soil moisture and precipitation.”

Brian Steed, executive director of the Department of Natural Resources, said: “While this is exciting, we have a long way to go. Snowpack typically peaks around the first week of April, which means we have five months to collect as much snowpack as possible. While we wait on our snowpack, we will continue to plan for all scenarios if the snowpack doesn’t replenish our water storage.”

The news release says that 37 of Utah’s largest 45 reservoirs are below 55% of available capacity. Overall statewide storage is 49% of capacity. This time last year, reservoirs were about 62% of capacity.

Soil moisture is 16% above median for this time of year. “Wet soils are critical in the fall as the state begins to accumulate its winter snowpack,” the news release said. “Frequent storms are needed to keep moisture in the soil as we head into winter.”

Of the 97 measured streams, 48 are flowing below normal.

Harmful algal bloom monitoring by the Department of Environmental Quality has ended for the season, but HABs may still be present in Utah’s water bodies during the fall, winter and spring, the news release added. Recreators are advised to avoid areas of scum, avoid ingesting water and rinse off after coming into contact with water.


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