The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) makes the most of the welcome rain by installing “guzzlers” in areas of extreme drought.
Guzzlers are mechanisms built into the ground to retrieve and store fresh drinking water for wildlife.
According to the DWR, these apparatuses typically have a metal roof-like covering with gutters on the side. The roof protects the open water basin underneath.
When we experience snow or rainfall, moisture will naturally accumulate on top of the roof, then flow into the rain gutter and down into a collection tank, explains a wildlife official.
Throughout the past few years, the DWR has partnered with local wildlife agencies and conservation groups to install thousands of guzzlers throughout the state of Utah.
As Utah’s drought crisis carries on, even prompting Utah Governor Spencer Cox to declare a state of emergency, wildlife has been suffering just as well.
“This year, with the extreme drought, we’ve been going out, filling and checking guzzlers to make sure that they have enough water in them and filling them with water when possible,” a DWR official says.
Each guzzler varies in size depending on the area but can hold anywhere from 500 gallons to 2000 gallons of water.
Wildlife officials have spotted thirsty deer, elk, sheep, eagles, chuckers, and more taking a refreshing sip of water from the basin.
During the historic drought season impacting Utah this year, officials say it’s imperative to ensure the tanks are filled to prevent animals from dying of thirst.
“Especially in years like this year, where we’re seeing extreme drought, we have the threat of losing a lot of wildlife species, and to avoid those crashes in populations, we really strive to prevent that and to be able to maintain our wildlife,” an official says. “So it’s important that we build these guzzlers and do things like this to provide more water.”