Leavitt Urged to Declare Drought

SALT LAKE CITY?Gov. Mike Leavitt said he will follow the recommendation of the state drought committee and declare an official drought for most of Utah, making farmers and ranchers eligible for federal low- or no-interest loans.

The drought committee said Tuesday that most southern, central and eastern Utah counties were eligible for drought status, with scattered parts of western and northern Utah not far behind.

The drought committee, made up of state water, wildlife and agricultural officials, reviewed meteorological and hydrological records.

Cutbacks in irrigation water are expected to be as high as 100 percent in several Utah regions.