Utah farmers and residents should prepare for water restrictions again in 2022

Mar 7, 2022, 6:44 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 9:38 pm

LAYTON, UtahWater managers in Utah are already preparing for what they believe will be another bleak irrigation and watering season this spring. 

As drought conditions continue, we could face some of the toughest watering restrictions yet. 

Snowpack in some areas may look promising, but the reality is it’s still not great. 

“We needed 150% of normal just to get our reservoirs full again and we’re sitting at about 73%,” said Scott Paxman, general manager and CEO of the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District.

He said it doesn’t help that many of our reservoirs, like Pineview, are already very low. 

“Last year we were only able to store about 7,000-acre feet out of a normal average of about 250,000-acre feet,” he said. 

Weber Basin notified customers Monday that they’ll likely see watering restricted to one day a week and secondary water coming on a month late and shutting off a month early. 

“These are troubling times,” Paxman said. “We just haven’t had the experience with that low of a water situation.” 

Pineview Water Systems is considering similar cutbacks. 

“We’ve had three consecutive years of pretty substantial drought,” said Ben Quick, general manager for Pineview water systems. “There’s no guarantees that there won’t be a fourth.” 

Quick said they have no reprieve in sight and they have to prepare for the future. 

They may also implement a late start and early end to the watering season. 

No announcements are expected until leadership can meet later this week. 

“On top of trying to use what we have, we still need to be cognizant of the fact that we need to save as much as we can for next year,” Quick added. 

Both districts said they continue to see some of the worst drought conditions they’ve witnessed. 

Paxman added, “Since the creation of the water district we’ve never been here.” 

Weber Basin Water will make a final determination on restrictions at the end of the month, but Paxman said it’s likely the season will begin late and end early. 

There is some good news. The soil moisture is very good this year, which will help the runoff get into the reservoirs. 

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Utah farmers and residents should prepare for water restrictions again in 2022