Heat, Low Water Levels Increase Algal Bloom Risk In Utah

Jul 9, 2021, 6:51 PM | Updated: 8:49 pm

MANTUA, Utah — High temperatures and low water levels have combined to create some algal blooms in Utah waters that can be deadly for pets. 

As you can imagine, a lot of the locals love coming out to the reservoir in Mantua. It’s a big reason many people live there.

Signs have now been posted around the reservoir to warn about an algal bloom.

Kelly Esparza urged people to pay attention to the warning because last year, she didn’t. 

“We had swam here for years, and our other dog had swam here for years,” she said. 

Esparza said she had seen the warnings before, but didn’t think much of them.

Algal blooms are a fairly regular occurrence at Mantua reservoir. 

“And I thought if I stayed in the parts of the water where you couldn’t see the algae, I thought she would be fine,” said Esparza.

It worked for her older dog, but then Esparza got Daisy.

“And she loved the water, too,” she said. 

Almost a year ago, at just five months old, Daisy got sick and died. She ended up getting a necropsy which Esparza said found liver failure that was likely caused by one of two things.

Daisy died after swimming in a lake that had an algae bloom. (KSL TV) Kelly Esparza said she never paid much attention to algae warning signs until after Daisy died. (KSL TV) Algae at Mantua Reservoir. (KSL TV)

“And when he said blue green algae, my heart just sunk, because we had taken her to this reservoir here,” Esparza said. 

Her warning today is simple. 

“I don’t want other people to make the mistake that I made,” she said.

With high temperatures and lower water levels, the Utah Division of Water Quality is keeping a close eye on the state’s major reservoirs — doing extra checks. 

“We’ll often see blooms starting around May, but what we are seeing is that some reservoirs, which typically don’t have blooms until maybe September (or) October, already have cyanobacteria in larger abundance, said Kate Fickas with the Division of Water Quality.” 

They asked all Utahns to be careful, too. Don’t swim or waterski in a bloom, and definitely keep your pets out of the water. 

“Our dogs are family… yep,” said Esparza.

The Division of Water Quality said if you still decide to go in the water with a bloom, keep it out of your mouth and wash your hands thoroughly right after. 

You can find a current list of dangerous water blooms here. 

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Heat, Low Water Levels Increase Algal Bloom Risk In Utah