Has recent snowfall and rains affected Utah’s drought crisis?

UTAH (ABC4) – With Utah’s severe drought, environmentalists are constantly hoping that Mother Nature will replenish Utah’s water levels.

With recent snowstorms and humidity blanketing Utah, how much has weather activity contributed to snow levels?

“The good news is that we’ve almost doubled our soil moisture from the same time last year, which will improve runoff efficiency,” said Brian Steed, executive director of the Department of Natural Resources. “The bad news is that reservoir storage is significantly lower than this time last year, with a statewide average of about 55 percent capacity.”

The Utah Division of Water Resources claims that 95% of Utah’s water supply comes from snow. Above average storms are still needed to replenish the reservoirs. At this point, officials say there are 25 days left before the snow season officially peaks.

Current Utah drought levels. (Courtesy of Utah Division of Water Resources)

So far, more than 96% of Utah is still experiencing severe drought and 33% of the state is experiencing extreme drought.

Snow levels are currently at 77% of the median or higher, with the exception of Tooele Valley-Vernon Creek which is at 70% of the median.

Twenty-eight of Utah’s 45 largest reservoirs are below 55 percent of available capacity. Utah’s statewide storage is at 55.5% capacity, about 10% less than this time last year.

Soil moisture is above average for this time of year at 7.3%. Officials say moist soils are essential for effective spring runoff. Of the 77 streams measured, 48 streams out of the 77 streams tested have lower than normal flow.

Water elevation levels in the Great Salt Lake are rising after dropping to a new record low in October 2021. It is currently at 4191.1 feet.

“Levels are expected to continue to rise through early spring until the irrigation season begins again,” officials said. “The influx is needed to overcome the typical seasonal summer drop of about 2.3 feet.”

To view the full Utah drought report, Click here.

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