We’ve all heard of the drought that Utah still faces, but we’ve seen the wet weather bring us much-needed water. Isn’t that enough to break the drought? Not necessarily.

Drought can be viewed in different ways. The one we think about the most is meteorological drought, where there is a lack of precipitation for a long period of time. Then there is the agricultural drought which causes plant yields to suffer. But the one we’re facing right now in Utah is hydrological drought. This type of drought affects our water sources like reservoirs, lakes and rivers.

“We’re kind of looking at our storage because we’re using a lot of our storage and last year we used a lot because we didn’t have any,” says Laura Haskell, drought coordinator at the Department. water resources. . “And so we just had to rely on that storage and now it’s down and we want to rebuild it.”

The constitution of our storage reservoir depends on our snowpack and it has not been the most reliable this winter. While we had those wet spells, we also had very dry spells which made it difficult to build our snow pack to the desired level.

“Typically we would see a steady increase in our snowpack and to see that roller coaster we have to see that as a big increase at times so we can compensate for those dry spells just to get it back to normal,” explains Haskell. “And then we’re also recovering from last year, where our reservoirs are about 10% lower than what we would normally see.”

The below average snowpack doesn’t look the best when we need to replenish our reservoirs and water storage systems, but the runoff we expect is in much better shape.

“Last year our soils were record dry and when the snow melted it just soaked the ground and didn’t reach our waterways. And this year, our soil moisture is much higher, so the snowpack that we have will reach our reservoirs,” Haskell says.

This will at least help our tanks replenish, but not to the levels we need them to. Water conservation will always be important as the summer months approach.

Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion