SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — After a winter season that saw record-breaking snowpack across Utah, our state lakes are showing signs of hope as water levels are continuing to rise this spring.
According to data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), water levels in both the Great Salt Lake and Lake Powell have increased dramatically this spring season.
As both lakes also hit historic lows this year from our state’s ongoing drought, the current levels appear to be growing steadily with spring snowmelt still underway.
The Great Salt Lake is currently at 4,192.8 feet, which is up 4.6 feet from the record low this season of 4,188.2 feet. This is promising for the lake as concerns have mounted with continuing drought seen earlier this year — prompting the state to redirect flood waters in an effort to save the shrinking lake.
Water levels are rising even more in southern Utah, as the latest data shows that Lake Powell is at 3,531.7 feet — an increase of 12.4 feet from the record low point, also from this season, of 3,519.3 feet. After 2022’s abnormally dry winter season, which spurred much concern from the local community and businesses, Lake Powell appears to be in better shape this year.
How much more could we see these lakes rising in the coming months? At this point, our snowpack is the best indicator.
The Utah Department of Natural Resources states that the state gets approximately 95% of its water from snowpack. The 2023 season saw a record-breaking snowpack this winter, with a peak of 30 inches in April, nearly doubling the 30-year average of 15.8 inches. As of today, Utah still has 17.8 inches of snowpack left for the annual runoff.
Only time will tell what condition Utah’s lakes will be in by the end of the year. For now, we can all take comfort in knowing that levels are improving around the state with plenty more snowmelt expected in 2023.