Water Supply Conditions Look Dire for 2021

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By Julie Johansen

Jordan Clayton, Data Supervisor with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Salt Lake City, reported that even though the area experienced some snow storms in February, the water supply outlook is still pretty dire. The snow water equivalent (SWE) at the beginning of March rose to 10.2” from 6.2” the first of February statewide, but it is very unlikely that Utah will reach a normal peak snowpack by early April.

As of March 1, the snow water equivalent measured at the SNOTEL sites is 77 percent of normal statewide. The south, including Southwestern Utah, Southeastern Utah and the Price-San Rafael Basin, are faring far worse at 55%, 62% and 63% of normal, respectively. With only one month remaining until the typical snowpack peak, the statewide SWE needs to improve by 5.3” to achieve normal conditions.

Utah’s snowpack conditions, extremely dry soils and low streamflow are impacting expected runoff conditions, generally between 25% to 75% of average. Utah’s reservoir storage is currently at 67% of capacity, down 15% from last year. It is now very likely that Utah will experience below to well-below average water supply conditions for the 2021 water year.

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