Water managers are looking back on March and giving it high praise for the amount of snow that graced statewide basins in Utah.

Jordan Clayton, Utah Snow Survey supervisor for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, said both 2023 and 2024 have delivered much needed precipitation, especially for a state mired in drought for so long.

That does not mean the drought is over, but it is welcome news.

Clayton, in fact, pointed out that the last time the state had two consecutive years of snow totals this far above normal was 2005 and 2006.

“And like last winter, the good news has been widespread and not limited to certain areas of the state,” Clayton said. “All of Utah’s major basins will peak at above normal snowpack levels for a second year in a row!”

As of April 1, Ben Lomond Peak’s SNOTEL site was in first place for Utah with 52 inches of snow water equivalent, or the amount of water in the snowpack.

Snow and water conditions at a glance

  • March granted Utah 156% of normal precipitation, bringing the water year value to 117% of normal, up an additional 6% from the end of February
  • Statewide soil moisture is at 63% of saturation, which is 101% of normal for this time of year. “We remain encouraged by the generally moist soil conditions in Utah’s mountains and the prospect for efficient delivery of snow water to downstream areas as a result,” he said.
Runoff water flows down Big Cottonwood Creek from the Wasatch Mountains in Big Cottonwood Canyon on Thursday, April 4, 2024. | Marielle Scott, Deseret News
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Reservoir storage’s statewide capacity is sitting at 78% capacity, with Clayton adding he expects almost all of Utah’s reservoirs to fill this year, with the exception of a few of the largest water bodies.

Scott Paxman, general manager of the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, said reservoirs in that system are between 75 and 80% full.

He said the region is at about 133% of normal for snow.

Paxman said the district is making room for the runoff, but he does not anticipate any major issues with flooding.

So far, no flood advisories have been issued for Utah by the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City.

More information on water conditions can be found at the Utah Snow Survey’s NRCS website.

Clayton’s release on Thursday did note that the relatively small amount of available reservoir capacity in the Great Salt Lake Basin is likely to lead to “significant surplus water,” that may find its way to the saline system.

The lake has been struggling and reached an historic low due to depletions and drought. Lake Powell is still in the challenge stage as well.

Correction: A previous version of this story was based on data from 2023.