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All of Utah now under worst drought categories

Drought Great Salt Lake
Posted at 1:27 PM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 15:33:39-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The entirety of Utah is now under two of the state's highest drought statuses, either extreme or exceptional, according to the Utah Department of Natural Resources.

SPECIAL SECTION: Utah's historic drought

Wednesday's drought update shows 100% of the state is categorized by being in the top categories, up from 99% a week ago. Officials say that at this time in 2020, only 1% of Utah was in the extreme category, and no part of the state was listed as exceptional.

The new numbers come less than a week after it was announced that the Great Salt Lake had hit its all-time record low of 4,191.3 feet Saturday, with that number expected to drop even further.

Despite the heavy rains that have pummeled the southern part of the state this week, thirty of Utah's largest 42 reservoirs are below 55% of available capacity. Overall, 72 of 97 measured streams in the state are flowing below normal.

Reservoir Fill Percent

WATCH: Sugar House Park will drain duck pond due to drought

Precipitation accumulation is also at a record low, with Utah needing about 13.5 inches of rain to restore conditions to "normal" for the water year. While this week's rain was welcomed by most, it is not enough to put a dent in the drought.

“Low water levels at many reservoirs across the state continue to have widespread impacts on water quality, water supplies, wildlife, recreation, agriculture and the environment,” said Utah Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Brian Steed. “We have received some much-needed rain in some areas, which helps water our landscapes and improves dry soils but is not sufficient to pull the state out of drought.”