People fish at Sand Hollow Reservoir in Hurricane. Washington County's largest reservoir was 69% full as of Thursday, according to the Washington County Water Conservancy District, but most of the region's reservoirs weren't so well off ⁠— amid historic drought conditions, southwestern Utah's network of reservoirs was just 38% full in total.

Officials with Utah’s Division of Water Resources hosted a virtual open house Wednesday night to offer an overview of the state’s new Water Resources Plan and answer questions about it from the public. 

Candice Hasenyager, the division’s Director as of August of this year, began with a presentation highlighting the plan’s focus on reliable data, secure supply and healthy watersheds. The plan, she said, differs from previous versions in that it is “not a drought response plan.”

More:The Water Tap: Thunderstorms and flash floods can’t fix Utah’s drought

The statewide outlook

Todd Stonely, the assistant director at Utah's Division of Water Resources, fielded questions from the public about the state's new Water Resources Plan at the agency's virtual open house on Oct. 20, 2021.

Hasenyager acknowledged this year’s extreme drought conditions and record-low water levels in Lake Powell and the Great Salt Lake, then moved on to discuss a few of the 18 goals the state has spelled out in the plan as its strategy to avoid catastrophic water shortages. Scientists predict this drying trend will continue into the foreseeable future as one of the expected ways intensifying climate change will impact western states. The division hopes to offset the worst consequences of this by implementing strategies outlined in its new plan.

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