PRESS RELEASE: Gov. Cox issues Drought Emergency Order

Rural Water News ,
The following message was written and disseminated by the office of Governor Spencer J. Cox. This is the original Press Release. No edits were made. We advise the message be shared using the following link: governor.utah.gov

SALT LAKE CITY (April 21, 2022)  – Gov. Spencer J. Cox declared a state of emergency due to the dire drought conditions affecting the entire state. This declaration activates the Drought Response Committee and triggers increased monitoring and reporting. It also allows drought-affected communities, agricultural producers and others to report unmet needs and work toward solutions. 

“We’ve had a very volatile water year, and unfortunately, recent spring storms are not enough to make up the shortage in our snowpack,” Gov. Cox said. “Once again, I call on all Utahns – households, farmers, businesses, governments and other groups – to carefully consider their needs and reduce their water use. We saved billions of gallons last year and we can do it again.” 

Utah has been in drought eight of the last 10 years, and this year’s snowpack is 25% below normal. Conditions are changing rapidly as the snow continues to melt. According to the Utah Department of Natural Resources:

  • 99.39% of the state is in severe drought or worse, with 43.46% of Utah in extreme drought.
  • Statewide snow water equivalent (SWE), or how much water would be in the snowpack if it melted, peaked at 12 inches. This is 75% of the typical median peak of 16 inches for our water year. 
  • Nineteen of Utah’s largest 45 reservoirs are below 55% of available capacity. Overall statewide storage is 59% of capacity. This time last year, reservoirs were about 67% of capacity. 
  • Soil moisture is 4% higher compared to normal for this time of year. Wet soils are critical for effective spring runoff. 
  • Of the 94 measured streams, 59 are flowing below normal despite spring runoff. Two streams are flowing at record low conditions.

Learn more about current drought conditions and conservation tips.

Read Executive Order 2022-04 here.