Is the drought over? The governor weighs in

Broken branches from Tuesday's Cache Valley storm

STATE OF UTAH — With 8 to 12 inches of heavy wet snow locally this week and a good soaking rain a few days earlier, some may wonder if the extreme drought we’ve been suffering through all year is over.

On the bi-monthly Direct Link with Governor Spencer Cox, heard earlier this week on KVNU, the governor said the emergency declaration issued earlier this year has been allowed to expire.

“The way this works…we need the legislature to weigh in to be able to extend that. There’s no pressing need right now, the purpose behind the original declaration…there are a couple purposes. One is a funding issue; we can work around some of those things. The other is to be able to implement restrictions where necessary and to give cover for those local water districts to be able to do that. And then work on any federal resources that are available as well,” Governor Cox explained.

He said we’re not out of the woods yet, but recent storms have been a great start. The governor said we need a couple of incredible winters with the ground soaked and snow in the mountains and also sprinklers to be shut off.

Cox said that Utahns did a very good job conserving water this summer.

“Yeah, they really did. In fact, they did a better job than we’ve ever seen before. So many people worked to conserve, it was impactful. I had water resource managers across the state say ‘you wouldn’t believe it, we had a press conference, we did things, we asked people.’ And then immediately their usage just fell, billions and billions of gallons of water that were saved. So that’s good because every drop we save this year can be used next year.”

Governor Cox also said that fire restrictions have been lifted because of the time of year we are in.

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