Snow, particularly in our state, is more than a facilitator of winter recreation and breathtaking winter scenery, it’s truly the lifeblood of our quality of life, and our economy.
As we entered this last winter and the snowstorms began the question on everyone’s minds was, “How are we doing? How’s the snowpack? Are the reservoirs going to fill?”
After a prolonged drought this year has been good, even above average.
Weber Basin Water Conservancy District provides water to a service area with more than 670,000 residents located in Davis, Weber, Morgan, Summit and part of Box Elder counties. The District is committed to protecting our existing water resources, using them wisely and providing for the future.
Our District delivers over 74 billion gallons of water a year and have granted over $300,000 in water conservation rebates. We performed over 15,000 water quality tests in 2018. The value of the facilities we manage has been estimated at $3.7 billion.
In our area, my colleagues and I are grateful each day for the foresight of water managers and the Bureau of Reclamation that preceded us into the early part of the last century. With the best information available they planned for future water needs and oversaw the construction of storage reservoirs we manage today including Willard Bay, Pineview, Causey, Lost Creek, East Canyon, Rockport, and Smith & Morehouse.
These reservoirs provide us the ability to store snowmelt runoff for delivery of water to our customers throughout the irrigation season as well as the ability to weather drought conditions over multiple years. In future columns, we look forward to providing additional details about the issues surrounding the management of these vital assets and how we move water to end users.
For now, let’s focus on the water situation within our service area in northern Utah and Summit County.
At the end of March, the Bear River region snow water equivalent percent of average was 117%, up from 76% at this time a year ago. In the Weber/Ogden region it’s even more positive with recordings of 131% as opposed to 55% in 2018.
At the end of March, Willard Bay was 71% full, Pineview 58%, and Causey, 59%. Other reservoirs such as Lost Creek were at 63%, East Canyon, 63%, and Rockport, 57%.
Current projections lead us to believe that these reservoirs will most likely fill this season.
Having said that, the efficient and sustainable use of this limited resource remains a focus of our District.
In order to accommodate growth, be prepared for whatever climate may become the new norm, and continue to develop more sustainable water use, we all need to be constantly looking for ways to eliminate wasteful watering habits and encourage the efficient use of our water.
At our facility in Layton, at 2837 East Highway 193, we have a Learning Garden that is open to the public. Plus, we offer classes throughout the spring and summer that teach the principles of water-wise landscaping. Details can be found on our website at http://weberbasin.com/conservation.
In future columns, we’ll discuss various conservation programs that will help to achieve our goal of reducing water waste and promoting the efficient use of our water. Also, working with Utah Division of Water Resources, we’re again offering rebates for the purchase of smart outdoor watering meters. The details are on our website.
We look forward to a continued productive relationship with those we serve.