Drought is in the forecast for Utah this summer, and communities that rely heavily on springs and streams are already feeling the pinch, according to the National Weather Service.
"The concerns for sufficient amounts of water through the hot summer months are on the increase in Utah. Dry weather continues to elevate the seriousness of the parched western United States," reads a report issued Wednesday by William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge of the Salt Lake office of the National Weather Service; and Gerald Williams, hydrologist in charge for the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center."It's pretty bad down south," Alder said. "Springs are dry and streams are dry and it's only the first part of June."
Parts of the state that draw on reservoir storage will not be as adversely affected.
Earlier forecasts for dry weather led some Utah communities to prepare contingency plans for water restrictions as long as a month ago, said Nathan Guinn, a compliance officer with the state Bureau of Drinking Water/Sanitation.
Concerns about the coming dry summer prompted officers with the drinking water bureau to call communities around the state to see if they needed help drafting water-restriction ordinances, Guinn said.
By mid-May, the Panguitch City Council in Garfield County was promoting the use of irrigation water to conserve culinary supplies and threatened fines if water meters showed excessive culinary water use.
In Piute County, Marysvale officials restricted irrigation use and increased water rates. Officials in Salina, Sevier County, warned residents in May against wasting water.
"I know that the city of St. George is moving rapidly to get their new treatment plant on line because they need the supply," Guinn said.
In the Weather Service report, soil moisture levels around the state range from 84 percent of normal in north central areas to a dismal 10 percent in the Uintah Basin.
The water picture
Seasonal water amounts for the seven divisions in the state between Oct. 1 and June 9:
-Western 81 percent
-North Central 90
-South Central 63
-Northern Mountains 92
-Uintah Basin 44