Aerial imagery reveals the grim reality of ongoing drought in Utah

Apr 19, 2022, 2:46 PM | Updated: Jun 20, 2022, 1:32 pm
Satellite imagery of Sand Hallow taken June 2021. (Nearmap)...
Satellite imagery of Sand Hallow taken June 2021. (Nearmap)

With summer approaching and the passage of multiple bills focused on water conservation efforts, the minds of Utahns are turning to the ongoing drought and possible water restrictions.

Images provided by Nearmap, an aerial imagery company, show before and after photos of local reservoirs with receding shorelines: more evidence of the dire drought conditions that plague the state of Utah.

Aerial imagery of Hyrum Reservoir taken August 2019. (Nearmap)


Aerial imagery of Hyrum Reservoir taken September 2021. (Nearmap)


Aerial imagery of Sand Hallow taken September 2019. (Nearmap)

Aerial imagery of Sand Hallow taken November 2020. (Nearmap)

Aerial imagery of Sand Hallow taken June 2021. (Nearmap)


Aerial imagery of Utah Lake taken August 2020. (Nearmap)


Aerial imagery of Utah Lake taken September 2021. (Nearmap)

Nearmap is an aerial imagery company based out of Australia that takes photos 3-4 times a year over the U.S. Their North American headquarters are based in South Jordan, Utah.

Aerial imagery of Willard Bay taken March 2018. (Nearmap)


Aerial imagery of Willard Bay taken September 2021. (Nearmap)

Nearmap did not have photos of Lake Powell or the Great Salt Lake, and only had photos of Deer Creek Reservoir and Jordanelle Reservoir from 2021. Included here below:

Aerial imagery of Jordanelle Reservoir taken September 2021. (Nearmap)

Aerial  imagery of Jordanelle Reservoir taken September 2021. (Nearmap)


Aerial imagery of Deer Creek Reservoir taken September 2021. (Nearmap)

According to Nearmap, they typically cover residential areas with their footage, but will fly over wetlands and lakes per the request of city or state governments. Nearmap did not get say if the photos above were taken at the request of the state.

The photos reveal a dramatic change in the shoreline within only a year or a few years time. With 99% of the state in severe drought and 2022 beginning with the fourth driest year on record, some water restrictions are imminent.

Salt Lake City recently announced it would begin Stage two of its five-stage Water Shortage Contingency Plan, asking the public to cut back water use by 5% a day and requiring public golf courses, parks, and city-owned buildings to reduce overall water use.

The Utah government has taken action allotting $450 million for water-conservation infrastructure this year, it seems the government is taking action following a devastating summer of drought in 2021.

Gov. Spencer Cox signed the following three bills focused on water conservation Friday.

HB121 is the first of its kind, offering a $5 million incentive for those that replace their lawn or turf with drought-tolerant vegetation that requires little to no water at all according to the bill.

Exclusions to this incentive include golf courses, athletic fields, parks or sod farms. The bill also requires the Legislative Water Development Commission to study water conservation in the state and imposes water conservation requirements at state government facilities.

HB242, covers secondary water metering which will require water suppliers to meter new and existing pressurized secondary water connections and imposes penalties for those who fail to comply with metering requirements.

Previously, Utah had many unmetered secondary water systems which provide untreated irrigation water for outdoor water use and users of these systems paid a flat monthly or annual fee regardless of the amount of water they’re using. This bill means people would be charged according to their water use and penalized for not following metering requirements.

If all secondary water in Utah was metered, it could save at least 80,000 acre-feet, the equivalent amount of water to serve the annual water demand of 400,000 Utahns.

The bill also provides $200 million in grants to fund metering of specific pressurized secondary water services.

SB110 requires a water use and preservation element to be part of a municipal or county general plan with some exceptions. This bill targets long term water use and water supply essential for growing communities in increasing drought.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Teens playing with fireworks started a dumpster fire in Murray Saturday night. (Mountain Green Fire...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

Teens playing with fireworks start dumpster fire in Murray

Firefighters said some teens setting off fireworks started a small dumpster fire in Murray Saturday night.
12 hours ago
The scene of the shooting at 900 S. 200 West....
Michael Houck

UTA: One man dead, another injured after shooting at TRAX station

A man is dead, and another is in "serious condition" after a shooting at a Trax station Saturday evening.
1 day ago
This holiday weekend, officers are tracking down safety problems on the water, in 'Operation Dry Wa...
Michael Locklear

Utah officers target drunk boaters as part of holiday weekend safety blitz

This holiday weekend, officers are tracking down safety problems on the water, in 'Operation Dry Water.'
1 day ago
Supporters against abortion rights at the Utah Capitol....
Michael Houck

Hundreds of Utahns gathered at Utah capitol, celebrating the end of Roe v Wade

Hundreds of Utahns gathered to celebrate the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, asking those supporters to show compassion to the opposition.
1 day ago
The Left Fork fire on 06.20.22 as it's 2608 acres and 5% contained. (Credit: KSL-TV)...
Michael Houck

‘Left Fork Fire’ is 100% contained after a two month battle

The Left Fork Fire is 100% contained but flared up again in mid-June, growing to over 4,000 acres.
1 day ago
FILE: Entrance sign at Yellowstone National Park. (NPS/Jacob W. Frank)...
Alex Cabrero

Yellowstone north loop reopens for visitors, removes limited capacity system

Yellowstone National Park reopens its northern loop after floods hit the park in early June.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Aerial imagery reveals the grim reality of ongoing drought in Utah