stormwater equivalent returns to 70% statewide

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SALT LAKE CITY – Amidst this prolonged drought, it’s always worth adding water – what difference does the weather really make this week? The impact on drought is minimal, according to water experts, but there are several benefits to this weather.

“We’ll really take all the snow and rain at this point that we can get,” said Utah Snow Survey supervisor Jordan Clayton.

He said rain and snow this week have provided an average of 7/10 of an inch of water statewide so far. It has also made it possible to increase the water equivalent of snow in our mountains by 6%. But the statewide average is still only 70% of normal.

“70% of normal is still way below where we want to be, however, that’s a boost, and we’ll definitely take those boosts,” the hydrologist said.

Fortunately, Clayton says we’re getting a bigger boost from this storm cycle now than if it came in mid-July.

“Because we’re getting it right now, at a time when the system is already kind of ready to flow, and we’re already getting a trickle. It really is a good time of year to get an extra increase in rainfall.

A cool, wet spring also prolongs runoff.

“We like to see this melting snow come off the mountain quite quickly and all at once,” he said.

This provides the most water in the reservoirs. This time also allows everyone to delay outdoor watering.

“I think waiting to water is the first thing residents can do, and because of the snow and cold temperatures, it really encourages residents to wait to water,” said Candice Hasenyager, division manager of water resources.

Right now, the state watering guide reminds us that it’s too early to water unless you live in Washington County, then you can consider watering once a week. For the rest of the state, the guide advises us not to start watering until we have several consecutive days of heat above 75°.

“We all need to do our part to reduce the amount of water we use and save it for another day,” Hasenyager said.

The State Division of Water Resources will work with districts to encourage conservation and help determine necessary restrictions. But, all restrictions will be left to local districts.

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