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.