drought

Brad Rippey / U.S. Department of Agriculture

Through a new citizen science initiative, the Utah Climate Center will capture drought data through public observations posted on social media.

Earl Creech

Utah is one of the driest states, and citizens are accustomed to drought warnings and plans. Last October, Governor Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency when he put a drought emergency order into effect. Now, a year later, the order has been lifted and 2019 will now take its place as Utah’s 10th wettest year recorded.

Steve Jurvetson / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Utah’s snow-water equivalent is well above median, and currently none of the state is in a severe-to-extreme drought. But Utahns shouldn’t relax about their water supplies just yet.

Utah's governing farm and agriculture department releases yearly report
UDAF

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food has released its annual report outlining 2018 production numbers that include a review of the health and welfare of the state's farm, produce and ranching industries. Utah Agriculture Commissioner LuAnn Adams is warning of challenges facing agricultural producers in 2019, including drought.  

South-Western United States is experiencing severe drought.
cdc.gov

Climatologists say conditions are right for development of an El Nino weather pattern that could bring wetter than normal conditions this winter in drought-stricken area of the southwestern U.S.

But weather researchers said Wednesday that even if an El Nino occurs, that doesn't assure that parched areas of the Southwest will receive more rain and snow. They also say higher-than-average precipitation is not likely to make up for rainfall deficits in the region over the past year.

People at an open house in front of posters: The Utah Division of Water Resources held an open house in Logan Tuesday night — one of many that have been held all over the state.
Lauren Bennett

Officials from Utah’s Division of Water Resources met with Cache Valley residents Tuesday night in an effort to continue educating Utah citizens about water conservation. The open house comes a day after Governor Gary Herbert declared Utah in a state of emergency due to drought.

usgs.gov

Governor Gary Herbert issued a drought executive order this week. Utah water officials say all of Utah’s 29 counties are experiencing some level of drought. The state of emergency impacts resources and the economy.

Sprinkler; Farmington residents under strict water restrictions.
Anton, Wikemedia Commons

Some Utah residents are being fined for using irrigation water during restricted times. Drought conditions are forcing water agencies to charge fines and shut off access in hopes of encouraging residents to conserve.

Drought warnings are issued across several counties in Utah.
thesourcemagazine.org

The threat of wildfire in the American Southwest has been significantly dampened by the monsoon season, but the region is still grappling with the long-term effects of drought.

Fire and climatology experts provided an update Wednesday on the situation across Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The region is currently home to the largest swath of severe and extreme drought in the U.S.

WIld horses suffering from lack of water.
wyomingpublicmedia.org

Harsh drought conditions in parts of the American West are pushing wild horses to the brink and forcing extreme measures to protect them.

Federal land managers have begun emergency roundups in the deserts of western Utah and central Nevada. And volunteers in Arizona and Colorado are hauling thousands of gallons of water and truckloads of food for wild horses on remote grazing grounds.

Blue sky and red desert cliffs above a curved portion of river.
U.S. Geological Survey

  

The commissioner for the Federal Bureau of Reclamation recently called for renewed commitment to drought contingency plans from states using the Colorado River. The region has been in a sustained drought since 2000.

Utah Desert
wildaboututah.org

National weather and wildfire experts say the American Southwest is one of the regions hardest hit by drought as many areas have received just a fraction of their normal precipitation while temperatures have climbed.

Climatologist Brian Fuchs with National Drought Mitigation Center painted a grim picture Wednesday as he used a series of maps to depict the dryness that has consumed the Four Corners region — where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet.

Earlier this month the Federal Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner, Brenda Burman, called on western states to work together on long-term solutions to address water shortages on the Colorado River.