SALT LAKE CITY — The cool and wet month of May will keep Utah on pace to log an average year for precipitation, which is good news in light of the past four years of drought.
"It turned a little wet, turned a little cool and added a little snow here and there, which of course is gone by now," said Randy Julander, supervisor of the Natural Resources Conservation Service's Utah Snow Survey. "It provided for what we would call a pretty average year."
The service's latest climate and water supply outlook report released Thursday details an active weather month in May in some areas of the state, including the northeastern Uinta Basin that received nearly twice the average precipitation it normally would at 181 percent.
There were near normal or slightly above normal conditions for the Wasatch Front, but southwestern Utah got left out, receiving only just slightly half of what it should get in rain — at 56 percent.
The cool conditions last month also kept Mother Nature's clock set to the correct time in terms of snowmelt's impacts on stream flows in the northern part of Utah, with high elevation rivers starting to peak now, including the Weber, Bear and Ogden.
"They're right on time, where they should be. It looks like it is going to be a pretty normal year, and we are tickled to see it," Julander said.
Reservoir storage at 48 of the state's key reservoirs is at 64 percent on average, about what it was last year.
Julander added that the good news this year is that the wet May delayed the start of the irrigation season for farmers and others, keeping storage levels at reservoirs in reasonably good shape.
"The thing that is nice is with the rain and cooler temperatures, water use is down a little bit as well," he said. "We have not had to draw on the reservoirs yet."
That is likely to change, however, as June starts to heat up with temperatures topping the 90s for highs this coming weekend.
The hot and dry conditions reinforce the call by the Utah Division of Water Resources to residents to exercise common sense and wise watering practices by refraining from watering during the middle of the day and becoming vigilant about leaking pipes and inefficient sprinkling systems.
Last month, the division launched a water conservation campaign called H2Oath in which residents, businesses and government agencies can pledge to reduce water use by promising to adhere to certain lifestyle changes, such as reducing the time in the shower by a minute.
More information on the campaign can be found at water.utah.gov/h2oath.
Email: [email protected]