The snowpack in Utah is lagging far behind normal for this time of year as of December 28, according to the SNOTEL survey data reported by the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and National Water and Climate Center. The map below, found at https://www.ksl.com/?nid=978, shows that snowpack over large portions of the state is below 50% of normal.
Only portions of the Bear River basin near Logan and a small portion of the Raft River basin are close to normal.
Troy Brosten, a hydrologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, says the continued dry forecast increases the chances that the year’s snowpack will not recover. According to the December 28 Deseret News, Brosten said “There is still a chance, but we are only at about a 20 percent chance of having a normal snowpack at April 1.”
Since most of our water supply comes from snowpack, at this point we are anticipating a terrible water year. There could be restrictions on water use next summer if the picture doesn’t improve.
This winter is an excellent time to plan for conservation measures you can take without hurting your quality of life. Replacing old toilets, shower heads, dishwashers, and washing machines with water-conserving models is a great place to start. And since most people use at least 60% of their water on their lawns, tuning up sprinkler systems (sign up for a free WaterCheck at www.slowtheflow.org) and replacing thirsty but unused grass areas with less water-intensive plants might be a good idea.
Check out the Conservation section at www.slowtheflow.org for more ideas.