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Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake and 33 reservoirs drop in water levels

Great Salt Lake
Posted at 1:15 PM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 15:27:52-04

SALT LAKE CITY  — Utah Lake, the Great Salt Lake and dozens of reservoirs in the state continue to record declines even with recent thunderstorms and flooding in parts of the state.

In a new report released by the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Utah Lake and 33 of Utah's 42 largest reservoirs are below 55% of capacity. One reservoir that was dry, the Upper Enterprise in Washington County, has jumped up to 5% of capacity.

"The Great Salt Lake’s elevation continues to drop slowly and is currently 4191.0, about 4.8 inches below the record low," the report said.

The Great Salt Lake has been impacted significantly by Utah's mega-drought, climate change and water diversion. Scientists and political leaders have reacted with alarm because of the harm it could cause to Utah's ecosystem.

WATCH: FOX 13 News 360: The Not-So-Great Salt Lake

Drought report 8/16/21

Because of ongoing water shortages, the Wolf Creek Water and Sewer Improvement District has enacted a moratorium until next year on new water service hookup approvals, DNR said.

"The towns of Bicknell and Mayfield have reported a drop in production from their existing springs," the report said.

But the state is seeing some signs of improvement. Outdoor water use being cut has extended the water supply. For agriculture, DNR said hay supplies and rangeland conditions remain an issue for farmers and ranchers, with 81% of hay and roughage supplies rated as short or very short and 70% of pasture and rangelands rated as poor to very poor, and 88% of irrigation water and stock water supplies are rated as short to very short.

The storms have provided some relief. DNR's report said 98.75% of Utah is now in "extreme" or "exceptional" drought compared to 99.43% last week.