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scofield reservoir shows low water levels
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Scofield, Utah ran out of drinking water earlier this month

FILE: Scofield Reservoir, photo, Scofield State Park The reservoir is about 2,800 surface acres and is stocked by Division of Wildlife Resources officials each year with tiger trout and Bear Lake cutthroat trout Scofield State Park Uploaded Images BlueBox 3

SCOFIELD, Utah — This town in Carbon County, in central Utah, had a major problem: Officials say the Scofield water tank ran dry earlier this month. 

A news release from the Utah Department of Natural Resources and Utah Department of Environmental Quality said the water tank dried out because of overuse and low spring flows.

Ryan Dearing with the Utah Division of Drinking Water told KSL.com’s Carter Williams that Scofield’s tank ran dry for a few hours on August 13th, but has since been refilled. 

The Division of Drinking Water issued an emergency permit for Scofield to haul water for residents as a short-term solution. And the officials have been working with the town on long-term water management strategies, including infrastructure needs like new meters for the water wells.

Dearing said Scofield is a small Utah town with a permanent year-round population of about 25 individuals, but visitors increase their numbers in the summertime. That increase in people using drinking water ran the tank dry because the spring flow could not keep up with the demand.

“They’ve imposed restrictions which greatly reduced the amount of consumption to the point now where the system is keeping up,” Dearing said.

“It’s still in a pretty precarious situation, you know, six gallons per minute,  it wouldn’t take much to drain that again. At this point, the restrictions are working, and the tank is maintaining its level.”

Scofield Reservoir has also had problems with algae and algal blooms. Last month the Deseret News reported that the density of the outbreak was such that one bloom developed on top of another bloom, creating extremely hazardous conditions.

“We have been fortunate over the last month to receive significant precipitation that has increased streamflows and soil moisture,” said Utah Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Brian Steed.

“If we can maintain wetter soils heading into the winter months, it improves our situation next spring. It will take time and the right conditions to rebuild the storage we have been using this summer.”

The agency says soil moisture is critical to efficient spring snow runoff. Last season the dry soils soaked up the snowmelt and so it never filled reservoirs.

Right now, 98.75% of Utah is in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought compared to 99.43% last week.

 

Contributing: Carter Williams and Colby Walker