Utah reservoirs only at 35 percent capacity despite storms

Jan 10 2014 - 3:21pm

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File Photo: A tire hangs from a branch on Pineview Reservoir, Saturday May 25, 2013. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)
File Photo: A tire hangs from a branch on Pineview Reservoir, Saturday May 25, 2013. (REYNALDO LEAL/Standard-Examiner)

SALT LAKE CITY -- Water levels in Utah's major reservoirs are likely to sit below their fill lines for some time, officials said.

Reservoir levels across the state are averaging 35 percent of capacity, said Mark Anderson, chief engineer for the Weber Basin Water Conversancy District.

"This level is about the second lowest level we've seen in the last 20 years," he told KSL-TV. (http://bit.ly/1cUSQQe )

Utah is in a deep hole water-wise and "the probability is, we're not going to make it out," said Utah Snow Survey Supervisor Randy Julander, who works for the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service.

This week's snowstorms across Utah are just a drop in the bucket, officials said.

"We need every one of these storms to keep pace with what we normally would be getting," Julander said. "They're just not big enough to actually get us ahead of the ballgame at this point."

He added, though, that "home runs are hit in the ninth inning," and that Utah might still recover somewhat.

Utah was getting enough early-season snowfall, but major storms stopped around mid-December and are just picking up again.

At the start of winter Utah's mountain snowpack piled up in places to 90 percent of normal, but the figure has since dropped to around 70 percent, Anderson said.

Two straight years of intense drought have all but ruled out getting Utah reservoirs back to normal levels this year, Julander said.

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Information from: KSL-TV, http://www.ksl.com/

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