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Water levels about 40 percent capacity at Echo Dam Reservoir

By Mike Anderson | Posted - Jul 22nd, 2013 @ 7:23pm



SUMMIT COUNTY — Many of Utah reservoirs' water levels are far below normal during this year's drought. State hydrologists have said it will only get worse: Utahans tend to use more water in July and August than any other time of the year.

Leslie Bird manages the Echo Dam Reservoir resort, which has a restaurant, camp sites and boat ramps to access the reservoir. She said that lower water levels have negatively impacted business, including the closure of one boat ramp for the rest of the season.

She said construction at the nearby dam had already hurt business over the past couple of years, and now the dry conditions are affecting it even more.

"Business has gone down, I'd say 70 percent," Bird said.

"If the snow is gone from Lewis Peak by, I'd say, the end of March, that means we don't get a lot of runoff," Bird said.

That's exactly what she said happened this year.

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Echo Dam Reservoir isn't alone, and water levels are down significantly statewide. Echo Dam is at 40 percent of capacity, Pineview is at 57 percent, Jordanelle is at 64 percent and both Utah Lake and Strawberry Reservoir remain at 80 percent.

Bird said the only other thing that will help is good snowfall in the winter.

These water levels should serve as a red flag to anyone who isn't making efforts to conserve, she said.

"If you don't need it, don't use it. I go through town and it's noon and they're watering the yards."

Bird said that the usable boat ramp should remain open for the July 24 holiday, but it's likely that the ramp won't be serviceable by Labor Day.

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