Reservoir storage will save summer crops in southern Utah this year as stream flow forecasts are considerably below average.
If farmers had to depend on water runoff in many of the southern Utah areas, they would be facing a bleak summer. Examples of low river flow include the Green River at 54 percent, near Cedar City 52 percent, in the Blanding area 32 percent and at Monticello only 18 percent.Large reservoirs like Huntington, Sevier Bridge, Otter Creek, Piute, Gunlock and Quail Creek are filled to capacity and many smaller ones have substantial amounts of water.
"Reservoir storage is in excellent shape statewide, even in those areas where runoff is expected to be below normal," stated the latest report of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. That's because of large carry-overs of water from the previous years.
Yet, some reservoirs remain well below capacity and longtime averages. Among those are Lower Enterprise with a meager 20 percent of capacity, Scofield Reservoir with 40 percent, Joe's Valley with 72 percent, Upper Enterprise with 79 percent, Mill Site with 80 percent and Panguitch Lake with 88 percent.
Some of these waters are nearer to the longtime average than to capacity, however.
Water storage is varied for eastern Garfield, Kane, Washington, Iron, Carbon, Emery, Wayne, Grand and San Juan counties, while stream flow forecasts are well below average in most of southern Utah. The most critical areas are in the southeastern and southwestern parts of the state.
Snowpacks in eastern Garfield, Kane, Washington and Iron counties are at only 59 percent of average, about one-third that of last year. The season's accumulation of precipitation was 63 percent of normal.
Large differences are noted in snowpacks Carbon, Emery, Wayne, Grand and San Juan counties. They are as low as 18 percent of average in the southeast but as high as 120 percent on the Price River. Precipitation has also been widely varied.
Snowpacks improved to 85 percent of average in the Sevier and Beaver River basins during recent weeks with the northern part of the basin the highest at 90 percent and the southern sector at 70 percent. Seasonal precipitation is at 82 percent of average.