Drought 2021

Drought 2021

This year Utah is experiencing one of the worst droughts on record, and the Central Utah Water Conservancy District continues to maintain its commitment to provide safe, reliable water. It is critical that our citizenry take measures throughout the District area, in our homes and communities, to use our water efficiently and responsibly. As extreme drought conditions continue, the District will provide up-to-date information and actions that can be taken to prolong our already-stressed water supplies.

Response Actions

As a state, this year we are facing severe drought. In response to the current situation, the state has provided 7 Drought Response Actions that we all can follow to help mitigate the effects of the drought and ensure we have water for the future.

Action 1:
Water Less

Water Grass only two times a week (three in Southern Utah). By watering one less day a week the average Utah home can save approximately 3,000 gallons.

Action 2:
If It’s Windy, Don’t Water

If wind speeds are above 5 mph, wait to water. Watering while it is windy results in much of the water being blow where it's not needed and evaporation.

Action 3:
Water at the Right Time

As a general rule of thumb, don't water between 10 am - 6pm (10 am – 8 pm in Southern Utah). This reduces evaporation loss. The exception to this rule: If it’s windy every night, pick a time that’s less windy (even if it’s during the day unless your area has a time-of-day watering restriction). You could save more water by watering during the day because the loss to wind can be more than evaporation so make adjustments as needed.

Action 4:
Prioritize Your Watering

Water high-value plants first. Trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, and lastly grass. Prioritizing your plants will help you give each of them a value, and ultimately lead to conserving water.

Action 5:
Raise Your Mower

Set your blades at 3-4 inches. Taller grass means deeper roots that can access water that is deeper in the soil. Tall grass also shades roots and soil to reduce evaporation loss.

Action 6:
Get a Rebate, Save Water

Save water. Get money. Visit utahwatersavers.com to find statewide rebates and programs for your home and landscape.

Action 7:
Check with Your Local Provider

Water restrictions are determined and enforced at the local level, which allows for customization according to the area’s water supply conditions. Check with your local provider to learn about conditions and possible restrictions that relate to you and your area.

Governor's Executive Orders

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Gov. Cox Orders 3rd Executive Order 6-8-2021

In response to ongoing concerns about extremely dry conditions, Gov. Spencer J. Cox issued an executive order forbidding irrigation at state facilities between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., requiring that sprinklers are shut off during rain storms and making sure landscape watering systems are operating efficiently

Executive Order
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Gov. Cox Issues Another Drought Executive Order: The Order Declares a State of Emergency due to Drought Conditions 5-13-2021

This declaration allows drought-affected communities, agricultural producers and others to continue the process that may provide access to state or federal emergency resources.

Executive Order
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Gov. Cox Issues Drought Executive Order: Water Conservation Critical as Utah's Water Supply Dwindles 3-17-2021

With 100% in the moderate drought category and 90% of the state experiencing extreme drought, today Gov. Spencer J. Cox issued an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency due to drought conditions. This declaration allows drought-affected communities, agricultural producers and others to officially begin the process that may provide access to state or federal emergency resources.

Executive Order

Additional Resources

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Slow the Flow

Stay up to date on the current drought situation and find more information from the Governor’s Water Conservation Team.

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Utah Water Savers

The State of Utah offers statewide rebates and programs for your home and landscape. Get up to a $75 rebate on a smart controller for your yard. Also, if your home was built before 1994, you could get up to $200 for replacing your old toilets with a new low-flow models

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The Localscape approach is a series of landscaping patterns and practices that takes into account Utah’s unique climate. It’s good landscape design, simplified.

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USU Extension

Utah State University has compiled a library of resources on a variety of topics ranging from in-home water conservation to range & livestock drought resources.

How the District Plans for Drought

Drought is nothing new to Utah and is one of the driving forces of the creation of the Central Utah Project (CUP) with its eight dams and reservoirs. With a history of winter snow and hot dry summers, Utah has relied on spring runoff to fill streams and rivers bringing precious water to the people. However, as the state grew and continues to grow, large reservoirs were constructed throughout the state to maintain a water supply through periods of drought, for all who use it, both agriculture and municipal.

The District’s first line of defense to mitigate drought is large multi-year storage and the second was acquiring additional resources such as acquiring old Geneva Steel water rights to provide new water sources to growing populations. The District also knows that even the surest of snowpack and groundwater levels may change. This planning process ensures the District can navigate any shortage or reduction in the water supply. For example, the District will reduce the amount delivered to our agriculture customers by up to 50% prior to any reduction of municipal and industrial water deliveries. Even then we know that supply is not constant allowing us to further reduce our municipal and industrial deliveries as needed across the board. Other uses may also see reductions such as stream flows in some areas for wildlife and fish. These measures are put into place in the event of extreme extended drought. Currently, about 90% of the state of Utah is experiencing extreme drought conditions and the reservoirs operated and maintained by the district are operating as designed. Because of these CUP reservoirs, this year we were able to issue 100 percent water allotments. To achieve this, we can thank the foresight of those that have gone before us, combined with significant water conservation projects saving over 130,000 acre-feet per year. The District is continually monitoring Utah’s climate and drought conditions to ensure that we are prepared for whatever changes occur and can ensure that we are providing a safe reliable water source to the people of Utah.