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

Local News

emergency lights...

Mark Jones

Man taken into custody for alleged assaults at Cathedral of the Madeleine

A 31-year-old man was arrested Sunday after he allegedly began assaulting random people duing Sunday service at the Cathedral of the Madeleine.

8 hours ago

Taylorsville police said Sunday a 35-year-old man drowned in the swimming pool of an apartment comp...

Mark Jones

Man dies after drowning in swimming pool at Taylorsville apartment complex

Taylorsville police said a 35-year-old male drowned Sunday.

9 hours ago


Collin Leonard, KSL.com

Layton man charged with killing his father now charged with threatening puppy owner

A Layton man charged this month with brutally killing his father now faces an additional criminal charge after police say he threatened to kill a man selling puppies the day before his father was found dead.

9 hours ago

A paraglider was injured and taken to the hospital after crashing in Washington County on Sunday, M...

Mary Culbertson

Paraglider injured after crashing in Washington County

A paraglider was injured after crashing near Blue Springs Reservoir in Washington County.

14 hours ago

FILE - Police lights (Ray Boone, KSL TV)...

Mary Culbertson

Man shot, killed in Salt Lake City homicide

One man is dead after he was shot in a Glendale neighborhood. Police are investigating the shooting as a homicide.

17 hours ago

A large fire at a historic church building in downtown Salt Lake required a three-alarm response fr...

Mary Culbertson, Brianna Chavez and Shelby Lofton

Historic church burns in downtown Salt Lake City

A large fire at a historic church building, the Wells Ward meetinghouse, caused a four-alarm response from Salt Lake Fire Department.

19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Aerial imagery reveals the grim reality of ongoing drought in Utah