The good news is that the snow pack in front range area mountains is above normal, but the bad news is that a drought condition still exists in the back country, city officials say.
In a water update to City Council members this week, Merrill Bingham, the city's water resource director, said snow pack at the Timpanogos Divide Station has measured 12.6 inches of water. Last year it peaked in April at 10.8 inches.Bingham said the snow pack is at 95 percent of the average for this time of year. The station is on the Alpine Loop near the Cascade Springs turnoff and represents the snowpack in the immediate Provo area.
Water at the Timpanogos Station feeds the city's spring areas and aquifers in the valley for well pumping, but that water runs off quickly and usually is gone by June, Mayor Joe Jenkins said.
Water used for the rest of the summer and for irrigation purposes comes from the Trial Lake Station in the Uinta Mountains, 25 miles east of Kamas. That water comes down into Deer Creek Reservoir and then into Provo River.
Bingham said Trial Lake's water level is at 73 percent of its average for this time of year, which would put Provo River at about the same level since 90 percent of the water that comes down the Provo River comes out of the Trial Lake drainage.
Trial Lake is down because there was no precipitation until December, "so we started at ground zero," Bingham said. "We still need precipitation to get the normal run off to fill the watershed."
Bingham said with precipitation data from both stations the city is at 40 percent of what is ultimately needed by April 15.
"There is nothing we can do except pray harder for moisture," Jenkins said. "Unless we get water up in the mountains, we will have another dry summer."
Jack Gardner of the Provo River Water User's Association said Deer Creek Reservoir is also below its average for this time of year. When the reservoir is full, it holds 152,564 acre feet. It presently has 89,350 acre feet in storage, which leaves 60,796 acre feet to fill it.