OGDEN – It's only May, but water levels at many of Utah's reservoirs are already below what we'd normally see in the fall and there's little runoff remaining to melt away. That's why water managers have urged everyone to conserve. Pineview Reservoir water levels already registered about 18 feet below normal.
If you like the beaches, you're in luck. There are plenty of them to start the summer season.
Paul Avner runs a sports rental shop and he said the water this May is the lowest he's seen in over a dozen years. "We're not even to June and the water's already starting to drop."
Avner said the shoreline gained about 2 feet over the weekend. "We're going in the wrong direction," he said.
He pointed at a boat ramp and beach that should be underwater. "Normally we operate out of, we call it our back bay. On normal years, there's about 18 feet of water to start in that area," Avner said. "It's completely dry."
This is why water managers already started to preach conservation. "We had a quite bad snowpack," said Riley Olsen, water supply and power manager with Weber Basin. "It wasn't historic lows, but it definitely wasn't good."
The low soil moisture levels are making it worse. "So when that snow's melting, it's just going straight into the ground. Not much of the melt is making it to the reservoirs," Olsen explained.
That's why we all need to cut back where we can, especially on our lawns where we can individually save hundreds of gallons just by shaving five minutes off each station. "People just don't understand how much water goes through their sprinklers," Olsen said.
People just don't understand how much water goes through their sprinklers.
–Riley Olsen, Weber Basin water supply and power manager
Avner pointed out another concern, less surface area on the reservoirs. "So, we're going to have a bunch of boats, watercraft on water and we're really going to have a smaller area. So I would have everybody really paying attention to water safety."
Olsen added, "Do everything you can to conserve every drop."
Weber Basin Water will do its part and planned to cut down irrigation contracts by 20% and end irrigation season 15 days earlier on October 1.