USU researcher: Conservation is key despite all of this snow and rain

Jan 10, 2023, 10:12 PM | Updated: 10:13 pm

LOGAN, Utah — Climatologists believe this winter could be the start of a multi-year wet cycle for Utah. While that would help our drought, there’s still an urgent need to conserve.

These wet-to-dry cycles hit about every five to six years, so climatologists say there’s a decent chance that we’ve flipped the switch.

Whether you like winter or not, it’s hard to complain about what we’re seeing right now.

“Very Optimistic,” Dr. Jon Meyer from Utah State University’s climate center said. “Couldn’t have written a better script for the first half of winter.”

He said after the last few years of drought, the current snowpack and mountain conditions are all a welcomed improvement.

“There’s a high degree of optimism that our year over year reservoir levels will begin to fill back up and we’ll start to see some steps out of the drought conditions that we’ve been stuck in,” Meyer said.

All of this snow and rain may start to taper off the closer we get to February but all indications are that this water year will come in above average and we may be starting five to six years of stronger precipitation.

Meyer added, “There’s a lot of optimism that as a lot of that wet cycle occurs, that our water resources will rebound.”

We’re not in the clear, however, not by a longshot. While our population and demands for water continue to grow, climatologists are seeing an overall gradual decrease in the precipitation we get every year due to climate change.

“There will be a paradigm shift in Utah’s relationship with water use inside of city limits and agricultural settings. And whether that paradigm shift happens in the next year or two or happens in the next decade or two, it’s going to happen,” Meyer said.

Sooner or later, we all will have to make adjustments to protect that finite resource.

Meyer expects to see more wet weather for about another couple of weeks.

It’s hard to predict beyond that but there are no indications that we’ll flatline like we did last year, toward the end of the season.

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USU researcher: Conservation is key despite all of this snow and rain