Panguitch Lake Dam crack raises flood concerns

A large crack in the Panguitch Lake Dam, likely caused by high water and ice pressure, has prompted a Level 2 Emergency Situation, with authorities taking mitigating measures to prevent a potential partial breach that could flood areas of Panguitch, Utah.
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April 10, 2024 — A crack discovered in the Panguitch Lake DamOpens in a new tab. in Utah on Monday, April 9, 2024, has prompted a Level 2 Emergency Situation and concerns about a potential partial breach. The West Panguitch Irrigation and Reservoir Company found the crack, likely caused by high water levels and ice pressure.

The main dam structure is intact, but a 2-5 foot expansion section from the 1930s/40s is compromised. A complete dam breach is unlikely.

Authorities are taking measures to mitigate the situation, including releasing water to lower the lake level, adding support material to the dam, and trenching the ice to relieve pressure. Evacuation plans are in place if a breach does occur, potentially flooding homes and properties in western Panguitch.

Panguitch City remains open for business and is not currently under evacuation orders. The Utah Department of Public SafetyOpens in a new tab. is assisting with information, traffic control, and community coordination.  As of 9:00 on Wednesday evening, Utah DPS reported:

Crews have trenched several cuts across the ice which has helped to relieve ice pressure pushing on the dam. They have also added rock to the downstream side to support the dam wall. These measures have helped to change the tilt of the expanded section from 8 degrees to 2 degrees.

Panguitch Lake was originally a large natural lake that has now been expanded by the creation of a 24-foot dam to become a reservoir with a maximum surface area of 1,248 acres. The lake, which drains into the Sevier River is located on the Markagunt Plateau, between Panguitch, Utah and Cedar Breaks National Monument.

Related Article: Here’s how catastrophic a Panguitch Lake Dam break could be, Fox 13, Salt Lake City.

Image via DPS news announcementsOpens in a new tab..


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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