NewsUtah Drought


How winter storms affect Utah's extreme drought

Posted at 9:48 PM, Oct 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-12 23:50:18-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Storms early in the season are offering signs of hope in making a dent in Utah’s drought.

The water year began on Oct. 1, 2021, and runs through Sep. 30, 2022.

Early rain and snowfall are giving the state’s water experts reasons to be optimistic.

WATCH: Expect more rain and snow across Utah this week

“Last water year, we started the year with record dry soils,” said Laura Haskell, the drought coordinator for the Utah Division of Water Resources.

Starting this year with more moisture in the soil will help during the spring and summer when snowmelt runs into rivers and streams.

“When snow melts, the first place it’s going to go is down into the ground,” Haskell said. “If there is already water in the ground, more of it will run off and go where we want it to go.”

An active winter season will be needed to bring water levels back to normal.

“We are about 40 percent in debt starting the water year,” Haskell said. “We need 100 percent plus that 40 percent to be average.”

READ: Cox to let state of emergency for drought expire after legislature doesn't renew it

More storms, just like the ones that passed through Utah this week, could be the ticket to ending the drought crisis.

“Lots of little moderate ones and some good snowstorms in the winter, that would be great,” Haskell said. “We will take everything we can get.”