LOCAL NEWS

Gov. Cox Declares State Of Emergency Due To Drought Conditions

Mar 17, 2021, 3:49 PM | Updated: 4:25 pm
(Chopper 5/KSL-TV)...
(Chopper 5/KSL-TV)
(Chopper 5/KSL-TV)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Gov. Spencer Cox has signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency due to severe drought conditions statewide.

The declaration allows drought-affected communities, agricultural producers and others to officially begin the process that may provide access to state or federal emergency resources.

“We’ve been monitoring drought conditions carefully and had hoped to see significant improvement from winter storms,” Cox said. “Unfortunately, we have not received enough snow to offset the dry conditions. I ask Utahns to evaluate their water use and find ways to save not only because of current drought conditions but also because we live in one of the driest states in the nation.”

Currently, 100% of Utah is in the moderate drought category and 90% of the state is experiencing extreme drought.

The state’s snowpack is around 70% of what it should be as of March 17, and officials said there is only a 10% chance of Utah’s snowpack receiving the additional 30% it needs before it starts to melt significantly — typically during the first week of April.

Officials added current soil moisture is also at the lowest levels since monitoring began in 2006.

“Extremely dry soils mean that when we do receive precipitation, the ground will soak it up first and reduce the runoff that typically fills reservoirs, lakes and streams,” said Brian Steed, executive director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources. “We urge people to consider ways they can save water and help be part of the solution. The state also offers water-saving and money-saving rebates to help with both indoor and outdoor conservation.”

The last time Utah was under a state of emergency for drought conditions was 2018, when former Gov. Gary Herbert issued an executive order on Oct. 15.

At that time, 99% of Utah was in a moderate drought and over 76% of the state was experiencing at least severe drought conditions.

Cox’s declaration also activates the Drought Response Committee, which will be led by Steed.

Learn more about current drought conditions and impacts in Utah.

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Gov. Cox Declares State Of Emergency Due To Drought Conditions