Utah copes with drying streams, dying animals as drought tightens its grip

(Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune) Sam Plumb inspects the dry creek bed on his family’s property in Emigration Canyon.

…with no relief in sight

After one of the hottest and driest summers on record, Utah’s water supplies are so low that agricultural water deliveries have been cut short, stream gauges need to be repositioned to measure paltry flows, young deer and elk are dying and ranchers are liquidating their herds.

And, most notably, 221,000 acres have burned and 370 structures destroyed in Utah’s busiest wildfire season since 2012 — and a full month remains in the season.

These grim snippets emerged Monday at an emergency meeting hosted by the Utah Department of Natural Resources. This summer, surface water supplies dropped so low that state law mandated a meeting of the Drought Review and Reporting Committee, made up of Utah’s top environmental and natural resources officials, along with federal counterparts.

The conditions are dire, and no relief is on the horizon, according to State Climatologist Robert Gillies and Brian McInerney, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service. Last year was also dry, but a spurt of intense precipitation in early 2017 kept the state out of danger.

“Now we’ve depleted our stores in the reservoir […]

More about Utah water supplies:

Drought Forces Hard Choices for Farmers and Ranchers in the Southwest

Officials dismissed benefits of national monuments

United States: Water deficits to diminish in the SW, surpluses ahead for FL

Water Hole: No running water on Navajo Nation reservation

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Utah copes with drying streams, dying animals as drought tightens its grip
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Utah copes with drying streams, dying animals as drought tightens its grip
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Utah water supplies are so low, agricultural water deliveries have been cut short, young deer and elk are dying and ranchers are liquidating their herds.
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Salt Lake Tribune
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