Jordanelle Reservoir & The Drought of The Century.


Jordanelle Reservoir is located 6 miles north of Heber City in Wasatch County, Utah. It was put under construction between 1987-1992, and was opened on June 29, 1995, 27 years ago. One of the purposes of its creation is the long-term water reserve to provide storage during a six-year drought period. Jordanelle has a capacity of 320,300 acre-feet with an area of 3,068 acres and a maximum water surface elevation of 6,169 ft.

Jordanelle Reservoir, situated 6 miles north of Heber City in Wasatch County, Utah, stands as a testament to the enduring challenge of water conservation in our arid state. Constructed between 1987 and 1992, this reservoir has been a vital water reserve since its opening on June 29, 1995 – a span of 27 years.

As a passionate and enterprising photographer, I, Ana Sosa, have dedicated myself to capturing the essence of Utah's lakes and reservoirs through my ongoing project, "Utah's Lakes and Reservoirs." It's a labor of love that I hope will resonate for generations to come, underscoring the importance of water preservation in a region reliant on winter snowfall to sustain its water sources.

Overview of Jordanelle Reservoir:

Jordanelle Reservoir boasts a capacity of 320,300 acre-feet, covering an area of 3,068 acres and reaching a maximum water surface elevation of 6,169 ft. Over the past decade, however, the reservoir's water level has steadily declined, currently resting at 49.93% of its capacity, as per records from Utah State Parks.

Impact of Drought:

This decline is not isolated but emblematic of a larger issue – the unprecedented drought conditions gripping our state and region. Last year, Governor Spencer Cox declared a state of emergency due to drought, exacerbated by soaring temperatures and scant rainfall and snowfall. The parched, arid soils absorb what little precipitation we receive, diminishing the runoff necessary to replenish reservoirs, rivers, and streams.

                       04/09/22 Jordanelle Reservoir, Rock Cliff. By Ana Sosa

A Mega Drought:

According to a recent article by National Geographic, North America is in the throes of a mega drought that commenced 22 years ago, shortly after the opening of Jordanelle Reservoir. This mega drought, intensified by global warming, surpasses the severity of droughts experienced in centuries past, threatening the very existence of many lakes and reservoirs. Alarmingly, projections suggest this mega drought could persist until 2030, posing a dire challenge to water resources across the continent.

Call to Action:

In the face of such daunting challenges, it is imperative that we act decisively. Water conservation measures, as recommended by our authorities, must be diligently followed. From water spacing and leak repairs to mindful usage practices like running full loads in dishwashers and washing machines, every action counts. Embracing initiatives such as smart irrigation controllers and adopting a "YELLOW IS THE NEW GREEN" mindset, as promoted by, are crucial steps toward sustainable water management.


The time for action is now. With water rationing becoming an imminent reality, it is incumbent upon us to unite in our efforts to mitigate this crisis. By sharing this blog, we can amplify awareness and inspire collective action, ensuring a brighter, more sustainable future for Utah and beyond.

Together, let's confront the challenge of water conservation head-on, safeguarding our precious resources for generations to come.



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