UTAH'S WATER

Southern Utah officials believe recent storms will positively impact drought conditions

Mar 1, 2023, 7:18 PM

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah — Wednesday’s storm left a mark on southern Utah from Bryce Canyon all the way to St. George, bringing snow, ice, and rain.

While the weather didn’t have a huge impact on day-to-day life, there’s hope it will greatly impact the desert’s deep drought.

“We’ve just been getting storm after storm after storm,” said Zachary Renstrom, general manager for the Washington County Conservancy District.

It’s rare to see a dusting of white on the red rocks of southern Utah, but there is a certain level of excitement when rain or snow hits the ground. And it’s more exciting when it’s frequent.

“Last summer, we had a very good monsoonal season, and down here in the southern part of the state, soils absorbed that water,” Renstrom explained.

Water officials are paying very close attention to snow water equivalent percentages across the state. That’s the depth of water that would cover the ground if all of the snow was liquid. Right now, that number is more than 200% for southern Utah.

“Those numbers are exactly right where we want them,” Renstrom said. “The soils have quite a bit of moisture in them, so when the snow melts, snow and water won’t run into the soils. They’ll actually run off into the streams where we want to see them go.”

Water officials say a good, slow snow melt is the best-case scenario, and if that happens, there should be no problem filling up our reservoirs.

“Knowing where the soil moisture content is, we know the majority of that water then and that snowpack will run off and will be able to capture that and put it into the reservoirs,” Renstrom said.

When Utah gets more water than usual, something special happens at Gunlock State Park, just 15 miles northwest of St. George. It overflows its banks and unleashes the rare Gunlock Falls.

Water officials anticipate that happening this year.

“This year is a great year, but I don’t know what’s going to happen in the summer, what’s going to happen next winter, and that’s just it. When we fill up our reservoirs, we can continue to store that water in our reservoirs for multiple years,” Renstrom said.

While all this moisture is great, water officials continue to emphasize water conservation. They suggest no watering just yet and say this is a good time to check watering systems for leaks.

KSL 5 TV Live

Utah's Water

Crews started to burn invasive phragmites Friday....

Mike Anderson

Firefighters burn invasive phragmites in Ogden Bay

Crews started to burn 2,000 acres of invasive phragmites in the Ogden Bay Wildlife Management Area Friday.

3 days ago

A map shows where the Chief Toquer reservoir will connect to the Ash Creek Reservoir....

Cary Schwanitz

Feds pour $7 million into southern Utah water pipeline project

A project to build a new pipeline that will run from the Ash Creek Reservoir to the Chief Toquer Reservoir received $7 million from the bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

19 days ago

Douglas Emhoff poses with Utah delegates...

Lindsay Aerts

Second Gentleman visits Utah touting federal money to help Salt Lake City’s aging water pipes

The second gentleman of the United States, Doug Emhoff, was in Utah today to help announce a program to replace aging pipes in Salt Lake City.

24 days ago

FILE...

Emma Benson

South Jordan combats water scarcity with new recycling water technology

As the Utah population grows, so does our need for clean water. One city is aiming to be more water-wise.

24 days ago

The Glen Canyon Dam holds back the waters of Lake Powell in Page, Arizona, on July 18, 2022. Lake P...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Here’s how much Lake Powell is expected to rise this year

Lake Powell is expected to receive a decent bump in the coming months, but experts say it still has a "long way to go" after years of drought.

26 days ago

an avalanche over steep ground and trees...

Lindsay Aerts

Water watchers ‘encouraged’ that this year’s extra runoff could help Great Salt Lake rise

Rain and snow could hit Utah overnight - adding to Utah's already-above-average snowpack.

1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

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.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Southern Utah officials believe recent storms will positively impact drought conditions