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Drought affecting recreation opportunities at Utah's reservoirs

Posted at 8:26 PM, May 31, 2021

JORDANELLE RESERVOIR, Utah — Utah’s exceptional drought is now visible on the shorelines of the state’s reservoirs.

Several feet of new beach now surround Jordanelle State Park, and it’s only expected to grow this summer.

It took Jordan Pinfield a lot longer to get to his fishing spot on Jordanelle this year.

“I can’t believe it’s this low,” said Pinfield.

READ: Utah anglers can keep more fish due to drought

The reservoir provides tap water to Wasatch, Utah and Salt Lake Counties. As of this weekend, the reservoir is almost 20 percent lower than this time last year.

“I thought there would be a bit more water but there is not. We are in a big drought. It’s crazy,” Pinfield said.

In a good water year, anglers can fish near the tree line. Now, boat ramps are beached and sandbars are visible as water managers warn of one of the worst droughts on record.

“I think it’s just scary and it’s sad,” paddle boarder Becky Boyack said.

Across the state, Willard Bay is at 67 percent capacity, Pineview at 59 percent, Utah Lake at 76 percent and Lake Powell just at 35 percent capacity.

WATCH: Three Utah rivers show real-time impact of drought

Jordanelle is peaking around 70 percent capacity. It now has less surface area for boaters and kayakers.

“It’s sad for us as recreationists, but I can imagine what farmers and ranchers are all up against, too,” Boyack said.