Utah’s water outlook brightens: Record snowpack, full reservoirs

Utah water outlook improves
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  • Record February snow at Alta highlights potential for ample spring runoff.
  • Statewide snowpack above normal, boosting Utah’s water position.
  • Soils are saturated, promising good streamflow and reservoir refill.
  • Great Salt Lake sees significant rise, aided by conservation efforts.
  • Full reservoirs underscore the importance of water infrastructure.

March 12, 2024 — According to a report from the Utah Department of Natural ResourcesOpens in a new tab., Utah’s water situation is looking good this March. A record-breaking February snowfall at Alta highlights how quickly things can improve and bodes well for the upcoming spring runoff season. Across the state, snowpack levels are significantly above average, putting Utah’s water supply in a healthy position.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service reportOpens in a new tab. paints a reassuring picture with the state’s snow water equivalent (SWE) showing a 157% increase over typical amounts for February. This translates to a statewide SWE at 117% of normal. Importantly, soil moisture levels are high, meaning much of the melting snow will make its way directly into streams and reservoirs rather than being absorbed by dry ground. These factors set the stage for a strong spring runoff season.

Reservoirs are already reaping the benefits, sitting at an impressive 83% capacity – drastically higher than the previous year’s levels. These ‘water savings accounts’ demonstrate the power of infrastructure in securing the state’s water resources.

The Great Salt Lake, a major focus of conservation efforts, has also shown a significant rise in water levels (1.8 feet since October). Actions like modifying the GSL berm aid salinity management and benefit the lake’s ecosystem.

While the current outlook is encouraging, Utah officials warn that it is crucial to remain vigilant about water conservation. Programs like the Agricultural Optimization ProgramOpens in a new tab. and SlowtheFlow.orgOpens in a new tab. foster water-wise practices to ensure Utah’s water resilience for years.


Adams Canyon, Layton, UtahOpens in a new tab.. Jacques Demien, October 2019, public domain via Wikimedia Commons.


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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Laura Bove
Laura Bove
March 12, 2024 11:12 am
Wow, yay Utah. This is great news. I don’t remember how long it’s been since any of the Colorado River Basin states have had this level of nourishment, for lack of a better word. Arizona needs this occurrence to prevent a potentially devastating wild fire season. It’s mid March and I’m still waiting for one more big snow fall to keep the fires at bay

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