As of Feb. 1, the snow water equivalent (SWE) measured at our SNOTEL sites is 65% of normal statewide with all major basins below 83%.
The Lower Sevier, Beaver, and Weber and Ogden basins are faring the worst at 46%, 53%, and 60% of normal SWE, respectively. With about two months remaining until our typical snowpack peak, our statewide SWE needs to improve by 9.4” to achieve normal conditions, which now only has about a 10% likelihood of occurring.
Water-year-to-date precipitation for the state is also quite low at only 60% of average. Worse, as noted in previous reports, soil moisture levels in the state are exceptionally dry, currently at only 25% of saturation (or roughly 54% of normal).
Utah’s poor snowpack conditions, lagging precipitation, extremely dry soils and low antecedent streamflow are impacting runoff conditions; streamflow forecasts for April to July snowmelt runoff volume are generally between 25% and 60% of average, with several forecast points at around 20%.
Utah’s reservoir storage is currently at 65% of capacity, down 15% from last year. When combined with the low forecasts, the resulting Surface Water Supply Indices for Utah basins are alarmingly low.
It is increasingly likely that Utah will experience below to well-below average water supply conditions for the 2021 water year. Water managers should plan accordingly.