Utah DNR marks the end of the ‘water year’ with a new drought update

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — In a press release from October 7, Utah’s Division of Natural Resources (DNR) provided some updates about Utah’s drought status.

The update is a big one, given that according to the press release “October 1 marks the first day of the new water year, a term commonly used in hydrology to describe a time period of 12 months for which precipitation totals are measured.” Furthermore, it is the time of year when water experts start compiling data from throughout the water year to help predict how much water will stay in streams and reservoirs throughout the year.

Candice Hasenyager, director of the DNR Division of Water Resources said the following about the beginning of a new water year:

“Celebrating the new water year is an exciting time for those in the water community. It’s when the water cycle resets. As we welcome the new water year, we should all make a resolution to be more waterwise. Utahns have made major strides in water conservation this summer. As the irrigation season ends and we spend more time in our homes, I urge Utahns to look for ways to save water indoors.”

Regarding the cold hard facts from this year’s ongoing drought, the press release reads:

  • Utah ended at 75% of a normal snowpack, with soil moisture levels at 39%, 2% better than last year and slightly better than normal for this time of year.
  • 37 out of 47 reservoirs across the state are below 55%, which is consistent with last year’s below-average measurements
  • 41 out of 98 measured streams are lower than normal
  • The Great Salt Lake continues to decline, with an average surface elevation at 4,199.9 feet, compared to the previous record low (4,190.2 feet)

DNR reminds residents that as the cooler season approaches, lawns need less water than during summer. You can find their comprehensive lawn watering guide here.

TownLift recently reported on an interview with Dr. Kevin Perry from the University of Utah on the shrinking Great Salt Lake, which you can read or listen to here.

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