Utah’s water year (Oct. 1 to Sep. 30) looked good at first, but it took a turn that has a lot more to do with temperature than with precipitation.
It’s a point climate scientists have been making about the peril to Utah’s water supply presented by warmer winters.
Warm winters mean rain instead of snow for much of the year. They also mean snow will slowly melt during parts of the winter when reservoirs are filled during rapid spring runoffs.
Take a look at the chart below, using data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. You can click on the tabs to see facts about each of the water systems serving the Wasatch Front.
The Provo River-Utah Lake-Jordan River Basin supplies water to Salt Lake and Utah Counties. The Weber River-Ogden River Basin supplies Davis and Weber Counties.
In both basins, notice that this year saw a lot more precipitation than last year, but there’s less snow in the mountains to show for it.