Adequate reservoir storage and a few much-needed rainstorms the past several years have allowed northern Utah to weather six years of drought, lawmakers were told Wednesday.
But if there isn't a good snowpack in northern Utah mountains next winter, be prepared for a tough summer in 1993."This past winter we had the worst snowpack in history (in the Bear River basin)," Carly Burton of Utah Power told the natural resources committee. In some cases, the spring runoff was 5 percent of normal.
Years ago, the natural outlet to Bear Lake was dammed, and water is pumped out of the lake and into the river to run downstream to be used for crops and turn Utah Power electrical turbines.
This year, because of low river run off, Bear Lake water was pumped starting May 5, the earliest release date ever. Last year, for example, water wasn't pumped until June 20, Burton said.
If runoff is like this year, next year farmers depending on the water will see only 30 percent of normal allotments, if that much.
Salt Lake County is only a little bit better off. Snowbird had snowpack of only 68 percent of normal, Brighton only 73 percent of normal, Salt Lake water officials said.