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Delays in watering this spring may affect water supply in Utah

Ryan Parker, a water quality technician for the Utah Division of Water Quality, hangs over the boat as he takes a water sample during a sampling mission at Utah Lake to assess the algal bloom situation in Provo on Monday, July 2, 2018. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News file)
SALT LAKE CITY — Officials at the Utah Division of Water Resources (UDWR) are concerned about the water supply because it is lower than usual at this time of year. The good news is we have some of our wettest months ahead. 
 
However, the bad news is things are still dry. Dry conditions in the fall affect snowmelt because water will first soak into the extremely dry soil before running off into streams and reservoirs.
 
The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, report the state expects a 10% chance to see enough remaining snow this season to fill reservoirs next spring and recoup lost water supply.
 
The NRCS identifies snowpack as an important source of water for much of the mountain west. A number of factors, including air temperature and precipitation, can affect how much snowpack becomes snowmelt — eventually contributing to the Utah water supply. 
 
Drought conditions could potentially develop very rapidly in the spring and deepen throughout next summer. The UDWR and other agencies are monitoring conditions closely to be prepared to respond rapidly in the spring if the water supply does not improve.
 
Laura Haskell, an engineer at UDWR, reported the dry conditions from fall and summer made the soil extra dry. Therefore, more runoff will soak into the ground instead of going to the reservoirs. 
 
State water watchers report you may need to wait to turn your sprinklers on this spring. Haskell believes if everyone delays their watering this spring, it will have a big ripple effect.
 
UDWR is urging people not to overwater park strips because that is the biggest water waster right now. 

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