Utah is the second driest state in the nation, and as such there exists a need for additional water in many areas of the state. Dams and reservoirs, sprinkler irrigation systems, and improved water delivery systems are often employed to conserve and fully utilize the natural water supply. However, more water is often desired. Weather modification, or cloud seeding, is seen as a viable way to augment the natural water supply.
Over the years, local sponsors along with the Utah Division of Water Resources have been involved with numerous cloud seeding programs designed to increase the winter precipitation within different areas of the state. Studies indicate that these winter seeding projects generally increase the winter precipitation by 14 to 20%. Economic analysis of this sort of increase in precipitation shows that the benefits from the extra water far outweigh the operational costs of seeding. The pamphlet Weather Modification: Some facts about seeding clouds gives a good explanation of the science behind cloudseeding.
Local water users in Central Utah began seeding clouds as early as the 1950's. Large-scale seeding projects have been ongoing since 1973. For the dates and locations of historical seeding activities, see Historical Cloud Seeding in Utah. To see where current wintertime cloudseeding efforts are being focused, see Current Projects.
The state currently has two licensed cloud seeding operators. These are the only entities with the legal right to seed clouds in Utah. To review Cloud Seeding Legislation for Utah, see Applicable Laws..