“It’s more important than ever that we don’t waste water,” said Joshua Palmer, water efficiency education and engagement section manager for the Utah Division of Water Resources. “In Utah, water efficiency should just always be important. It needs to be one of Utah’s core ethics,” he told KSL News in Salt Lake City where the meeting was held.
In the meeting, department heads presented the ways in which drought has impacted tourism, wildlife, agriculture and the economy. Few Utah homes have had enough rain in their neighborhoods this summer. A look at the latest U.S. drought monitor map shows that all of Utah is under at least moderate drought conditions with other areas severe, extreme, and even exceptional.
Drought maps show that Utah has been under drought conditions for at least six years, with the exception of two extremely wet months during December of 2016 and January of 2017.
That blip of wetness and its resultant 300-400 percent of snowfall later filled some reservoirs for a while. Then last winter was one of the driest on record.
Statewide, notwithstanding southeastern Utah’s extreme drought, the state hydrologically has 65 percent reservoir storage, and meteorologically is facing persistent hot and dry conditions. From a weather perspective, Utah needs a break in the high pressure for an extended period of time during the winter to give the state good precipitation and good spring runoff.
But meteorologists say our weather forecast is trending toward longer periods of high pressure with warm conditions, low snowpack, sometimes followed by intense storminess in isolated areas.