Hydrology & Modeling

The Hydrology & Modeling section supports the planning and development activities of the Division of Water Resources by:

  • Determining whether water supplies are sufficient
  • Determining whether reservoirs and/or pipelines will assist in solving water shortages
  • Supplying water budget data for statewide water planning
  • Assisting the Construction & Design section with dam safety projects

The Division produces water models that analyze complex data to help make decisions for future water needs.

The current models include:

  • Bear River
  • Great Salt Lake
  • Jordan River
  • Weber River
  • Uinta River
  • Virgin River

cloud seeder image
Cloud seeder at night. Courtesy North American Weather Consultants

Cloud Seeding – The Division is responsible for the state’s cloud seeding program, which has been in operation since the early 1950s to help increase the state’s water supply. In Utah, we use ground-based propane generators to seed winter clouds to stimulate the precipitation process and generate snow. Placed along foothills and higher elevations, the release of silver iodide is timed so that the air currents will carry it high into the clouds.

The Cloud Seeding Act of 1973 requires cities and water entities to work with the state to administer the cloud seeding program. Water Resources partners with cities and water entities and contributes matching funds up to a total of $300,000 each year to help increase the state’s water supply. The Colorado River Lower Basin states (Arizona, California and Nevada) help fund aspects of Utah’s cloud seeding program. Utah is active in weather modification associations including NAWMC and WMA.

Additional Background

Utah Climate Center – The Utah Climate Center runs a Weather Research and Forecasting model and displays output from the model simulation on this site.

North American Weather Modification Council Brochure (2019)

Cloud Seeding Program Report (2018)

Cloud Seeding Downwind Effect Study (2003)

For more information, please contact Craig Miller at craigmiller@utah.gov or call 801-538-7280.