Last Week the Utah Division of Water Resources released their 2021 Water Resources Plan draft to public view. This is the third plan of its kind since the year 2001. This plan includes a stronger emphasis on recommended actions that are taken to secure Utah’s future as it pertains to available water resources. The current plan in process focuses on three principles of water management including keeping the supply of water secure, keeping healthy watersheds, and staying current with reliable data.
In the forward of the plan’s draft the Executive Director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Brian Steed, referred to the plan as more than just a response to the drought issues that Utah has experienced recently. He made note that it is a planning document that looks 50 years into Utah’s water future. He stated that it provides a look into the current water use of the state and the supply conditions as well as what future demand scenarios may look like.
The state is accepting feedback from the public on this new proposed plan from residents of Utah beginning now until November 15th. After the 15th the Department of Natural Resources will look over each comment and make any needed revisions before publishing a final version. There will be a virtual open house to discuss the plan draft on October 20 from 7 to 8 pm. Details on how to be a part of the open house or submit a public comment can be found at the website http://water.utah.gove/2021waterplan.
The current plan is a lengthy one at 157 pages long and there is a lot proposed in it. It is a good idea for every water user interested in what is happening to read the entire document. Here are some of the main points included within it:
The document notes that Washington County is expected to face an uncertain water future. They expect the county to need to seek additional water supply partly due to the increase in population. The desirability to live in Washington County is much higher than other areas of Utah.
The states plan to help address the shortage in the Lake Powell Pipeline Project planned to bring water from Lake Powell to Sand Hollow Reservoir
Though residents of Washington County have done a great job at water conservation, lowering use by 25%, these conservation measures may still not be enough to meet demand in the next two or three years using the current sources of the Santa Clara and Virgin Rivers.
Reductions for drought emergency could include advancing turf removal rebate programs, making new land-use plans that encourage desert-friendly landscaping, optimizing agricultural use by improving technology or converting this land to another use, and improving the ability to monitor secondary water use
Improving public data on the water supply and use in the state
Regardless of what the plan says, it is a great idea for every concerned citizen to get involved by reading the full plan and participating in public comment to make your concerns part of the discussion among the board so that they can create a plan in everyone’s best interest.