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Cloud Seeding - The Utah Experience

Norman E Stauffer, Jr.

Abstract


The first cloud seeding project in Utah began in the early 1950s in the central and southern portion of the state and lasted four years. The project was reactivated in 1973 by the original organizers and has continued to the present. The Utah Cloud Seeding Act was passed in 1973 by the Utah Legislature. This law provides for licensing cloud seeding operators and permitting cloud seeding projects by the Utah Division of Water Resources. The act states that for water right purposes all water derived from cloud seeding will be treated as though it fell naturally. The act also allows for the division to sponsor and/or cost-share in cloud seeding projects. Since 1976, the state through the division and Board of Water Resources has cost-shared with local entities for cloud seeding projects. In the 1970s, cloud seeding projects expanded to cover most of the state. The majority of projects were for winter time snowpack augmentation, but a summertime hail suppression/rainfall augmentation project operated for six years in Northern Utah. The state participated in the NOAA Cooperative Weather Modification Research Project fi’om 1981 to 1996. Wintertime snowpack augmentation projects continue to operate in Utah.

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