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WATER STORAGE RATED GOOD IN RESERVOIRS

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Utah water supplies are generally in good shape, although the state could experience some isolated water shortages during the summer months.

"We do not expect to have any serious problems with water supplies because water is available for use from Jordanelle Reservoir. We have good storage in the reservoirs, and the groundwater basin for wells has had some recharging because of heavy snow during the winter of 1992-1993, so we don't expect any serious problems along the Wasatch Front this year. But there could be some distribution problems," said Paul Gillette, deputy director of the Utah Division of Water Resources.Gillette said stream flows are expected to be less than 70 percent of normal, but reservoirs are quite high and storage supplies are good from last year. Only Scofield Reservoir, located northwest of Price, and Bear Lake are very low. The supply of water in Bear Lake is better this year than it was last year, but at Scofield, supplies may be as limited as they were last year, he said.

Bob Adams, hydraulic engineer for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Colorado River Basin Forecast Center at the Salt Lake office of the National Weather Service, says communities or irrigators with reservoir storage should get through the summer months reasonably well. But those who must depend on stream flow "will be hurting during the latter part of the summer unless we get some rain."

Seventeen of the 25 major reservoirs monitored by the bureau are 80 percent or more full. Eleven of the 17 reservoirs have filled, and their level is dropping because of use, Adams said.

George Cook, range conservationist for the Soil Conservation Service in Price and a member of the Scofield Reservoir Board, said the reservoir contains about 41,500 of its capacity of 65,000 acre-feet of water.

"I think it has peaked, and more water is now being drawn out than is going into the reservoir. Stream flow into the reservoir and the amount of water stored will be less, and streams that run into the Price River below the reservoir are also lower. The overall situation is not as good this year as last year," Cook said.

Cook said he doesn't believe cities and towns that receive water from Scofield will be adversely affected this year. But irrigators who must depend on Scofield water during late July and August will probably be restricted in the amount of water they can use, he said.

Lyle Bryner, chairman of the Price River Water Users Association, said Scofield Reservoir water supplies are adequate but "we're very short on direct stream flow. This year we had to start using reservoir water June 1. Last year we didn't have to open the reservoir until about July 15."

Tony Beals, soil conservationist for the Soil Conservation Service in Price, says the snowpack was much less adequate in the mountains north of U-10 between Price and Emery, Emery County, and I-70 than it is in the immediate area of Price.

Residents of Price and other areas that receive water from Scofield Reservoir and Emery County citizens are not the only ones keeping a close watch on water supplies available this summer.

Monticello has prohibited outside watering on Mondays and Thursdays to ensure that the city's small storage reservoirs remain full as long as possible during the late summer, said water Superintendent Clyde Christensen.

"We have to pump water out of Lloyd's Lake. That is expensive water, and that's the reason" for the restriction. "The city is interested in maintaining storage for other possibly dry years in the future," Christensen said.

Randy Julander, snow data collection officer for the Soil Conservation Service, said this past winter was an off-year for snowpack.

"Most streams and rivers peaked in mid-May. Normally, we would still have some snow in the mountains to support stream flow. Without the snowpack, stream flows will decline very rapidly. As of June 7, snow remained at only three out of about 70 snow-measuring sites in the state. Normally, June is the high month for stream flow, but we have passed that. So what tends to happen is that (cities, towns and irrigators) rely on reservoir storage for a longer period of time. Obviously, that means more water used from the reservoirs will result in less carry-over for next year," Julander said.

"The best thing that could happen is a nice rainy summer. You know what the chances are for that. It doesn't tend to happen around here."