Eight of Utah's reservoirs that feed the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District have 10 percent less water than they did a year ago, and that could mean water shortages next year for farmers and residents if there is a dry winter.
According to Grant Salter, district superintendent of irrigation and power, the water system is at 63 percent capacity of its two-year projection. Only 53 percent of the district water is in upstream reservoirs.Water use is expected to dip into next year's reserve by the end of summer, and if winter snow pack doesn't bring enough water to replenish reservoirs it could mean a water crisis next summer. At present, Pineview Reservoir holds only 29 percent of the district's two-year water supply, Causey Reservoir is at 55 percent and Willard Bay is at 69 percent.
The district has water in 8 reservoirs and provides irrigation and culinary water to Davis, Weber, Morgan and Summit counties.
If drought conditions come, the district would be forced to turn on its drought relief pumps. The drought relief pumps were constructed in 1978 after a critical drought year and pump irrigation water from Willard Bay into the Davis Weber Canal system. They cost about $180,000 a month to operate, according to Ivan Flint, district manager.
"We're probably worse than last year, but we're not in a critical drought yet," Flint said.
So far, the winter water forecast is promising. The National Weather Service's 90-day forecast shows cooler and wetter weather, a spokesman said.
While the district has not imposed rationing, officials have encouraged conservation by residents to help avert a possible shortage next year.
"Most people can do with a lot less water than they do," Flint said noting that people ought to water lawns at night to avoid evaporation. He also suggested following Utah State University extension service guidelines on watering times for different soils and lawn types.