Lane Gray, water section manager in Orem, is hopeful that with just a few more good snowstorms precipitation will be at 100%.
Right now that is not the case. However, Orem residents should not be concerned, according to Gray.
There are 134 snowtel stations throughout Utah. Orem monitors four of them very closely. They include Trial Lake, Beaver Divide, Daniels-Strawberry and Timpanogos Divide.
“These are the four that directly affect Orem,” Gray said. “These past few storms have helped immensely.”
Even with the snowstorms, the current average precipitation from the four stations is 64% of average. Last year at this time they were at 84%.
“We’re a good 20% behind the curve,” Gray said. He noted that predictions have the area in drought conditions through May 21.
The drought patterns go in six- to seven-year cycles, according to Gray. “Hopefully we’re on the way up,” he said.
There are concerns looking down the long-term road. Gray noted that by 2060, Utah’s population will have doubled and Utah County is expected to be as large if not larger than Salt Lake County.
“Orem is very unique,” Gray said. “Our forefathers that did water planning had foresight.”
Gray said there are many people working in the water division to make sure water and population are planned for well into the future.
Orem currently has nine wells, aquifers and springs. The aquifer levels are down about 2 feet, according to Gray. Spring flows are down as much as 50%.
“Our soil moisture content is almost nil,” Gray said. “In Orem, we’re not in panic mode at all. March usually provides moisture and snow with lots of water content.
“A couple of good storms will be what we need.” Gray added.
While Orem residents are not being asked to conserve water, that is the continual goal.
Gray is over drinking water for the city and noted that Orem has very good water. With some bias, Gray said he thinks Orem has the best water in the state.