Virgin River at an all time low, reservoirs not even near full capacity

Utah Drought

HURRICANE, Utah (ABC4) – In Washington County, the Water Conservancy District is continuously seeing lower reservoir capacity. Only two reservoirs out of seven in the county are currently above 70%.

Water managers say they treat about 24 million gallons of water daily for over 200,000 residents, and all of this takes years of planning.

The Virgin River is so dry, water doesn’t even hit the diversion dam. It’s the lowest it’s ever been, according to Zachary Renstrom, the general manager for the Washington Co. Water Conservancy District.

“We take water from the river and we put it through a large pipeline, and it brings it to our two reservoirs, Sand Hollow and Quail Creek Reservoir,” says Renstrom.

Renstrom says they only put water into reservoirs about six months during the year, and the rest of the year, there’s either not enough in the river to pull water out, or other individuals, like farmers have priority to it.

“This spring, we had two really good rain events, and what they mainly did from a water stand point, our soils are astronomically dry, we’ve never actually seen them this dry before,” says Renstrom.

He says this could be problematic next year if we see drought conditions like we are this year. They’re finalizing another reservoir in Toquerville and are planning an expansion at the Quail Creek Water Treatment Plant.

“We’re in the process right now of going through the engineering and design portion of that and we hope to start that process probably in about a year from now,” says Renstrom.

While the goal is to provide water security to residents, with the extremely low reservoir levels, Renstrom says all they can do is hope for more rain.

The district issued additional water conservancy suggestions to cities last week, but it’s not being enforced. It’s up to city leaders and residents to figure out if the water here is worth saving.

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