Drought Information

Find resources and facts on the current drought.

What is Drought?

Drought is the result of a deficiency of precipitation over an extended period, resulting in a water shortage. These shortages can have significant impacts to natural vegetation, crops, livestock, wildlife, recreational activities and result in severe economic losses. Droughts are a normal, recurring feature of climate and occur in both very wet to very dry climates. The severity of a drought depends on the degree of moisture deficiency, its duration, and the size of the affected area. Because it is so hard to develop a quantitative definition for drought, it is difficult to determine precisely when a drought starts and ends.

Are We Really In A Drought?

Our area’s climate is considered semi-arid. In all but the winter months our evapotranspiration (the water consumed by plants) exceeds normal precipitation, necessitating crop and landscape irrigation. We rely on the snow we receive in the winter months to provide water for irrigation in the summer months. Our reservoirs and the timing of the snowmelt all work in unison to capture and put to beneficial use this water. In some years, such as 2021, the snow volume we receive is well below average.

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In an average year our drainage would expect to see a runoff of approximately 324,000 acre-feet, This year we realized approximately 15% of this or 50,000 acre-feet, with Weber Basin only being allocated 7,000 acre-feet of this runoff. Another factor that contributed to the dismal runoff volumes were the record setting low soil moistures.

Weber Basin Water Conservancy District has implemented drought watering restrictions to reduce the amount of water being used on secondary irrigation to no more than two days a week. A watering is defined as 40 minutes for rotor sprinklers and 20 minutes for pop up spray heads.

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These low soil moistures meant that the snow melt was quickly soaked into the dry ground and did not make it into our streams, rivers and reservoirs. These low soil moistures were a result of the hot and dry 2020 irrigation season. One resource that can help us see the severity of drought conditions in our area is the U.S. Drought Monitor. This resource provides a broad-scale national drought map. It is updated weekly and communicates any unusually dry conditions with 4 drought categories (moderate, severe, extreme, and exceptional drought) and an “abnormally dry” category, indicating areas that may be moving into or out of drought. As of June 1, 2021 the U.S. Drought Monitor detailed our area as being in D2-D3 (Severe to Extreme) drought conditions.

Drought Watering Restrictions

2 Days A Week Maximum
Weber Basin Water Conservancy District has implemented drought watering restrictions to reduce the amount of water being used on secondary irrigation to no more than two days a week. A watering is defined as 40 minutes for rotor sprinklers and 20 minutes for pop up spray heads.
Daytime Watering Ban
Watering has been banned from 10 am to 6 pm. These times of the day see the highest temperatures and therefore contribute the most to evaporation loss.
Delay New Landscape Projects
All landscape projects should be delayed until the water situation improves. There will be no additional volumes of water made available to users who are placing landscapes this year

Additional Actions?

For Sprinklers:
  • Find and eliminate waste of any kind. Detect and fix leaks as soon as possible. For metered customers, using the Customer Portal and setting up a leak alert can is highly recommended.
  • All homeowners should educate themselves on how to run and maintain their sprinkler system. Weber Basin has resources here as well as a recorded class on irrigation available here.
Landscaping:
  • For the immediate future, hold off on new landscaping projects as establishing new plants uses more water than mature plants with deep roots.
  • Learn about how to maintain your landscape by attending any of Weber Basin’s free classes.
  • Keep turf mowed to 3 inches tall, mowing frequently enough to avoid cutting more than one-third of the total grass height.
  • Don't hose off hard surfaces.
  • Limit car washing.
  • Continue indoor water conservation practices.
    1. Shorter showers.
    2. Fix any leaks.
    3. Help neighbors do the same.
  • Discuss importance of water conservation with your HOA, community, etc. and encourage ordinances and policies that accommodate and encourage sustainable landscapes.

AS A REMINDER, IRRIGATION DELIVERIES ARE CURRENTLY SCHEDULED TO CEASE OCTOBER 1ST