SALT LAKE CITY -- The new water year got off to an official start Saturday in Utah, with most reservoirs still full after an unusually wet winter and spring.
Water managers say that while high reservoir levels are good news for the state, they also present a challenge in managing.
Reservoirs, such as Pineview in Weber County and Strawberry and Deer Creek in Wasatch County, are at least 90 percent of capacity. At Starvation in Duchesne, which is 80 percent full, and in the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District's Wanship, at about half of capacity, levels have been drawn down deliberately.
Chris Hogge, of the Weber Basin district, said its reservoirs have a combined 441,750 acre-feet of water, up 82,790 acre-feet from a year ago.
"The high holdover in these reservoirs presents another issue of how we manage these levels," he said.
If too much water is released to make room for additional storage, that could hurt next summer if there's a dry winter. But if the snow starts piling up in the mountains early on, officials must be prepared to drop reservoir levels as early as late December.
Tage Flint, general manager of the Weber Basin district, said he has less wiggle room than his colleague to the south. He said it's difficult not knowing what the winter months will bring and that it would be great to have a magic wand to produce the ideal winter.
"We are almost always good with normal, but we never get it. Average would be good."
Tom Bruton, of the Central Utah Water Conservation District, said reservoir levels generally will be dropped to make way for an average snowpack. Last season's unusually heavy snowpack did little to change how the district made its decisions, he said.
"We have a little bit more room to be more aggressive or less aggressive depending on the forecast. It allows us to be prepared for a very wet year or very dry year."