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Opinion: We are out of extreme drought, but not out of trouble

Most of Utah is still considered in abnormal to severe drought

SHARE Opinion: We are out of extreme drought, but not out of trouble
Low water levels at Jordanelle Reservoir in Wasatch County are seen on April 18, 2022.

Very low water levels at Jordanelle Reservoir in Wasatch County are seen on Monday, April 18, 2022. Most of Utah is still considered in abnormal to severe drought.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

We are fortunate to have a strong snowpack and wet ground conditions from this wet winter, and fortunate that most of the state is currently clear of the extreme drought. Yet, it’s too early to breathe easy because we are “only” experiencing an abnormal to severe drought across 74% of the state. And it’s too early to return to our normal life of green yards at homes and businesses.  

With two decades of drought, we can only try to imagine the condition of our underground aquifers and the amount of water it will take to restore these resources. Many Utah farmers and communities are highly dependent on these aquifers. For example, state farmers have accepted deep cuts in water usage, in some cases up to 75%. If these farmers make more cutbacks, trees and crops will become stressed and diseased. This will have long-term impacts on our food supply. Further, small towns like Echo and Hyde Park ran out of water last summer. This past January, the mayor of St. George stated, “we are running out of water.”   

Collectively we do not seem aware enough, or to care enough to conserve water during this prolonged and enduring drought; so, can we take advantage of some additional water to reduce the risks of a dry, hot summer and help our aquifers rebuild?

Let’s do our part. Let’s ask our government leaders to legislate solutions that help our government and business leaders to lead our state in conserving water and place priority on communities and farms over green lawns. Make your voice heard, reach out to your representative.

Andrew Watt

Sandy