Expert discusses Utah’s water outlook as hot weather looms

Posted at 8:50 PM, Jun 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-24 23:45:24-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- As the temperatures continue to escalate over the next week, the amount of water being used in Utah will escalate with it, but the question is whether we have enough.

"It's very difficult to forecast record conditions," said Brian McInerney, a hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City.

McInerney said the only thing predictable about our recent weather, is that it's unpredictable.

"We had the hottest February, we had the hottest March, and then you move into a dry April and then you break records with precipitation during the month of May," McInerney said.

The extremely dry winter, combined with the extremely wet May, has left Utah's 71 major reservoirs about 30 percent below normal.

"I think that the rains in May did help, it was nice, but it didn't change the fact that this is our fourth year in a row of below average inflow into the reservoirs," McInerney said.

The National Weather Service said even though these reservoirs look full now, in a few months the water levels could drastically decrease.

"Overall, when you look at the state of Utah and the influence of the reservoirs, we're still not doing very well at all," McInerney said. "Depending on how hot the summer gets, that's what's going to tell--and you'll see these reservoirs dropping pretty quick if it's hot and it's dry."

The National Weather Service said we may not be able to control the amount of water we receive, but we can control the amount of water we use.

"Anytime you think about water, in the desert, in Utah, we should always think conservation and we should always be unsure," McInerney said.