The most recent water supply reports show the mountain snowpack improving along the Wasatch Front and that Deer Creek will fill and spill.
But dry conditions in 1987 and 1988 are still taking a toll on groundwater levels in Salt Lake County with the water table dropping as much as 4 feet, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Officials have said above-average precipitation will be needed to help recharge the valley's underground water supplies.A March 20 snowpack survey by the Soil Conservation Service shows water content in the snowpack in areas that feed the Provo and Jordan rivers is still 5 percent below average for this time of year, but a determination was made the same day by Provo River officials that flows into Deer Creek will be enough to fill the reservoir and allow water users to take additional water during the spring.
Salt Lake City Public Utilities Director LeRoy Hooton Jr. told the board of the Metropolitan Water District of Salt Lake Monday that cloud seeding helped boost the mountain snowpack about 10 percent.
Moisture levels in snow accumulations elsewhere in the state range from highs of 109 percent in the Weber-Ogden river drainages and 103 percent along the Green River to lows of 46 percent in the Virgin River area, 59 percent along the Escalante River and 71 percent in the Tooele valley and in southeastern Utah.
Barring unusual weather patterns, the Wasatch Front should also be free of flooding concerns, said Tosh Kano, Salt Lake County's flood control and highways director. "We're in pretty good shape," he said, "unless we get a spring rainstorm that goes on for 48 hours." An unusual hot spell of 80 to 90 degrees could also cause problems by accelerating the snow melt in mountain canyons.
Hooton and MWD General Manager Nick Sefakis said water conservation is still an issue even though the city is receiving a full allocation of Deer Creek water. "We will still promote the wise use of water," Sefakis said.
Meanwhile, groundwater levels dropped an average of 3 feet in most areas of the Salt Lake Valley during the past year, according to the USGS.
Declines of up to 4 feet were measured in approximately 73 percent of the valley. Declines overall were measured in a total of 92 percent of the valley locations surveyed, while rises in groundwater were found only in 8 percent.