Despite the Indian summer weather that has graced November, continuing a trend of dry years, more water is in Deer Creek Reservoir now than during the past two years at this time.
That's good news for water users and for wildlife advocates, who two years ago fought to maintain winter flows in the lower Provo River to protect its blue ribbon trout fisheries."As of (Sunday) we had 89,726 acre-feet in the reservoir," said Jack Gardner, superintendent of the Provo River Water Users Association. "That's about 5,000 acre-feet ahead of last year."
It is also about 18,000 more acre-feet than the reservoir held in November 1988.
Deer Creek is 57 percent full - the fullest reservoir in the state, Gardner said. "The rest are down around 20 percent to 30 percent."
Deer Creek reservoir has a capacity of 152,564 acre-feet.
Downstream flows from Deer Creek are being maintained at 100 cubic feet per second. Of that amount, 90 second feet come from the reservoir and 10 second feet from Deer Creek stream.
"The fish seem to be in really good shape," said Greg Bullock, a member of the Stonefly Society. "Things seem to be looking pretty good down there."
Two years ago the Bureau of Reclamation, water users in Salt Lake and Utah counties, the state Wildlife Resources Division, members of Utah's congressional delegation and representatives of wildlife groups negotiated a minimum "fishery flow" agreement to protect the trout stream during the winter months.
The agreement allows the Water Users Association to drop downstream flows to 85 cubic feet per second if water stored in the reservoir drops below 70,000 acre-feet.
The Bureau of Reclamation has about 11,000 acre-feet of water in reserve in Deer Creek to ensure minimum streamflows during the winter, according to Barry Wirth, spokesman for the bureau's Upper Colorado Region office.
The bureau will draw upon its Central Utah Project allocation of 20,000 acre-feet to maintain river flows if its storage reserves are depleted, Gardner said.