PROVO -- It's still hot, and it's still not raining. That being said, it's still not time to panic -- but a rain dance wouldn't be a bad idea.

For now, most cities' water levels are fine. Some wells are seeing a drop in their water tables, but for the most part are still good.

While Orem and Provo are much better than most, and cities in the south part of the county are watching their agricultural areas closely, north cities have had to face rationing. In an extreme case, Lehi had to purchase a one-year water right from CUWCD to help with the shortage.

In a weekend message to Lehi residents, the water department declared the city is no longer at risk of culinary water outages this weekend.

The statement reads, "Although culinary water is returning to stable levels, we ask that Lehi residents remain vigilant in refraining from using culinary water to water lawns or for other unauthorized purposes. Our pressurized irrigation system remains low, and the water restrictions for pressurized irrigation remain in place. The city continues to seek out additional water resources to improve water levels."

Daryl Devey, Central Utah Water Conservancy District's O & M manager, said last year's drought was worse than this year's, but if next year is the same as last year, Utah County cities may need to determine better ways to conserve water.

According to Devey, Deer Creek Reservoir, where many cities get a portion of their water, never came close to capacity.

"It's started at 42 percent of normal," Devey said. "Jordanelle is lower than it's ever been since it was filled." The Provo River water flow is much lower than it has been in years -- water trickles through diversion dams and barely makes it around rocks through much of the river.

Orem gets 60 percent of its water from Jordanelle and Deer Creek, but according to water section manager Lane Gray, there are no real concerns.

"Our spring levels were considerably lower and our wells are subsiding, but there is no concern," Gray said. "Citizens have listened and cut back and are not using as much water as they have."

Gray said he doesn't anticipate rationing next year, only as a last resort. Dave Decker, Provo's director of public works, said he feels the same.

"Rationing is the last resort," Decker said. "Our last full update came three weeks ago. Water from the springs in Provo Canyon are down 40 percent. There is no question the drought is affecting our sources. We have water rights we're not drawing on and we are not feeling a significant crunch."

Like every other city, Provo officials are asking residents to be conservative in their water usage. He said Provo's water sources are sitting pretty good, but the city will be watching the winter storms carefully. They are hoping the mountains will see more and wetter snowfall this year than the past two years.

Chris Thompson, director of public works for Spanish Fork, said the city wells and springs are doing fine, but conservation remains key.

"We are recognizing it as a drought," Thompson said. "However, we have set up a water conservation program to help residents slow the flow."

Spanish Fork residents can sign up for a new sprinkler controller that has a weather station that is installed on the roof to follow rain storms and amounts of precipitation. The city helps financially with that installation. Residents can go to the city's website and link to the program from the home page.

Devey noted that while the valley received record-breaking snows last year, the mountains received little snow and it had lower water content than normal.

Brad Stapley, director of public works for Springville, noted that Hobble Creek is down and that the Springville Irrigation Company is starting to cut back on water flows.

"The city has really planned well and has adequate water rights," Stapley said. "We're doing fine as far as water goes. I think everybody's concerned about next year."

Stapley did note that Springville is in the middle of a $3 million project to bring a secondary water system to the city. They should be hooking up to 1,000 homes in the west fields by I-15 soon.

Right now all cities are asking the residents conserve their water and be energy wise.

genelle-pugmire
-- Genelle Pugmire covers Provo City, Provo School District, Orem City, UDOT’s I-15 CORE Project. She also tackles variety of other topics including business features.
Read more from Genelle Pugmire here.