Measuring snowpack near Powder Mountain, experts say conditions look grim

Mar 25, 2022, 3:55 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 5:23 pm
Hydrologists with 
 took us to one of their monitoring stations to talk about the snowpac...
Hydrologists with NRCS Utah took us to one of their monitoring stations to talk about the snowpack.

WEBER COUNTY, Utah — Even with a decent snowpack this winter, 97% of Utah remains in extreme or severe drought and Utah’s statewide snowpack is average in the mid-to-high 80 percentile.

That’s better than what it’s been, but because of two extremely dry years previously, Utah’s reservoirs still need a lot of help, and hydrologists say water restrictions will most likely be necessary this spring and summer.

Work isn’t really work when you love what you do. You can usually tell by their smiles.

“It’s honestly one of the best jobs I can imagine,” said Dave Eiriksson.

“I can’t believe I get paid to do this,” said Jordan Clayton.

Both are hydrologists with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Even though there’s work to be done entering data in an office, they are often outdoors in beautiful postcard-perfect views.

Thursday afternoon, they were part of a group giving a tour of one of the NRCS’ new snowpack telemetry sites at Powder Mountain in Weber County.

Being on top of mountains gives them views many people never see.

Even with all this natural beauty, though, they see plenty to be concerned about.

“I would be lying if I said I didn’t get scared,” said Clayton, who is also a supervisor for datal collection with the Utah Snow Survey.

Hydrologists know better than anyone how dire Utah’s snowpack situation is.

“This is where we’re getting all of our water, for irrigation, for agriculture, for municipal uses. For everything,” said Clayton. “Our success as a state depends on our water years.

The official snow season ends on April 1. Even with decent snow this winter, 97% of the state is still in severe or extreme drought.

Below Powder Mountain is Pineview Reservoir. Currently, Clayton says Pineview is only 26% full.

Part of why it and other reservoirs are so empty is because last year, the soil moisture was low.

That means a lot of water that came down mountains didn’t make it to the reservoirs.

“When the soil is really dry, the water just soaks into the soil,” said Darren Hess.

Hess is the chief operating officer for the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District.

He says soil moisture is better this year, but there will most likely be restrictions this spring and summer.

“We hate to do restrictions,” he said. “It’s not something the public likes. Obviously, there is going to be pushback and a lot of concern, but we need to manage this resource the best that we can.”

Water conservation and a better snowpack next year will help with water levels.

For these hydrologists, seeing full reservoirs in Utah again would be the best views of all.

“Sooner or later, we’re going to get another big winter,” said Clayton. “I hope it’s soon, but we’re going to get there.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Intersection where motorcyclist and Jeep crashed....
Brooke Williams

Biker in extremely critical condition after being hit by Jeep in Millcreek

A biker is in extremely critical condition after colliding with a Jeep this morning.
14 hours ago
Salt Lake City police responding to a shooting at the Downtown West apartment complex. (KSL TV)...
Michael Houck

Man charged with murder, woman shot in her SLC apartment

A 20-year-old man is facing felony charges after police found him with his dead girlfriend in late September. 
14 hours ago
(KSL TV)...
Casey Scott, KSL TV

Surprising drivers with free gas cards in Weber Co. with Casey Scott

Casey Scott was out earlier Wednesday helping ease the pain at the pump with free gas cards -- if anyone will take them.
14 hours ago
Andrew Adams

Relatives scramble to relocate Florida woman to Utah after she lost everything to Ian

Family members were scrambling Tuesday to get a relative in Florida safely to Utah after she lost everything to Hurricane Ian.
14 hours ago
Get Gephardt...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Get Gephardt helps a Clearfield man get his solar panels hooked up after months of delay

Imagine having solar panels installed on your roof but then being unable to get the company to actually hook them up. It happened to Clearfield man and when the company stopped responding, he decided it was time to Get Gephardt.
2 days ago
The SafeUT app provides real-time crisis intervention for people in immediate distress. (KSL TV)...
Debbie Worthen

SafeUT app sees big increase in tips on threats, chat use

On the app designed to keep them safe, Utah students are reporting more tips related to violence, more total tips and using the app chat feature too.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Measuring snowpack near Powder Mountain, experts say conditions look grim