Provo River to run closer to flood stage as managers navigate runoff

Jun 2, 2023, 7:56 AM | Updated: Jun 6, 2023, 11:19 am

PROVO, Utah — City officials said they expected flows along the Provo River to be increased again next week as water managers continued to work through the historic spring runoff.

According to Jared Penrod, an engineer with the Provo City Public Works Storm Water Division, crews planned to increase flows starting on or after June 5 to 1,800 cubic feet per second.

The Provo River on Thursday was running at 1,500 cubic feet per second, Penrod said.

“When we hit 2,100 CFS, it’s our flood stage,” he said. “We don’t want to get near that.”

Penrod acknowledged it would be increasingly important for crews that are already monitoring the river 24/7 to watch even more closely to ensure unexpected circumstances like debris clogs don’t happen.

“What we don’t want to see is a backup anywhere,” Penrod said. “Those backups can lead to overtopping of the river banks and flooding of properties.”

The move comes as Jordanelle and Deer Creek reservoirs are approaching their capacities.

Penrod said dam operators have said to expect the high flows for the next two to four weeks.

“We really don’t want the river to get above 2,000 CFS at any point,” Penrod said. “This is the most that we want to see in the river.”

Regulars along a walking path that follows the river near 900 North and 800 West said they couldn’t help but notice the river’s appearance recently.

“I kind of get a little anxious about how high it’s getting,” teenager Heaven Begay said as she walked with her mom, siblings and others.

Michael Lloyd said the river appeared to him to be roughly three to five times what it normally looks like.

“I just want to keep watching it and see what happens,” Lloyd said. “It could go higher. I’m not an expert in this stuff but I could see it.”

For more information about flooding visit floodsmart.gov.

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Provo River to run closer to flood stage as managers navigate runoff