LOCAL NEWS

Utah water managers work to prevent problems before spring runoff

Apr 2, 2024, 6:00 PM | Updated: 6:55 pm

SALT LAKE CITY Utah’s snowpack is strong, sitting at just over 130% of normal, ahead of the spring runoff.

That means there’s a lot of water waiting to come down from the mountains.

On Tuesday, Salt Lake City water managers increased the amount of water being released from Little Dell Reservoir down Parley’s Creek, to try to prevent problems later.

The increase was necessary due to the strong snowpack and recent storms, said Laura Briefer, director of Salt Lake City Public Utilities. She warned the public to be careful around the creek.

Laura Briefer, director of Salt Lake City Public Utilities, warns the public to be careful around Parley’s Creek. (Greg Anderson, KSL TV)

“It might look a little faster,” Briefer said. “It might look a little deeper.”

The rushing water was on full display Tuesday afternoon at Sugar House Park as Tim Lont played with his dog, Bo.

“I think it’s great, especially for the Great Salt Lake,” Lont said, “get some more water flowing over that way.”

That is, in fact, where the water is flowing.

“Parley’s Creek ultimately ends up in the Jordan River,” Briefer said, “which then ultimately ends up in the Great Salt Lake.”

Snowpack is ‘really nice’

Jordan Clayton, who runs the Utah Snow Survey, said he’s not concerned at this point about flooding. (Greg Anderson, KSL TV)

Jordan Clayton, who runs the Utah Snow Survey, said this year’s snowpack is “really nice,” especially after last year.

“The last time we’ve had back-to-back years that were this far above normal was 2005 and 2006,” Clayton said.

But all that water has to go somewhere. Reservoirs are already pretty full – even before the spring runoff. That has officials sending water downstream quickly.

Clayton said at this point, he’s not as concerned about flooding as he was last year. That is, as long as the weather cooperates.

“If things stay cool and wet for a long time and then suddenly go really hot and dry, that’s where you can get into a larger flooding concern,” he said.

For now, Clayton is optimistic this year’s snowpack will put a dent in some of the state’s bigger problems.

“This year with the reservoirs being in much better shape, we’re not going to need to store as much water,” Clayton said. “which just means that a larger percentage of that excess water could make it downstream to larger bodies of water – like the Great Salt Lake, like Lake Powell – that really critically need as much as they can get.”

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Utah water managers work to prevent problems before spring runoff