Many questions were raised Thursday night by Carbon County farmers and water company representatives at an environmental scoping meeting on the proposed Narrows Dam and Reservoir project in north Sanpete County.
The Sanpete County Water Conservancy District has proposed building either a 110-foot dam or a 75-foot dam on Gooseberry Creek, several miles from Scofield Reservoir, to provide supplemental water to 12,000 acres in north Sanpete County.Gooseberry waters flow east into Scofield Reservoir, a water source for Carbon County. Gooseberry water has been the subject of years of controversy and litigation between the two counties.
The meeting in the Carbon County Courthouse was conducted by Jay Franson of Noble & Associates Inc., American Fork, an engineering firm hired to collect data and do studies on the proposed project.
Also attending the meeting was Gordy Lind, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the agency that would fund the project if it were built. Lind said his agency, in cooperation with other governmental agencies, would prepare an environmental impact statement.
Jaylene Critchlow, who described herself as a fourth-generation Carbon County farmer and one of about 40 people who attended the Carbon County meeting, said she is concerned that water flowing into Scofield Reservoir would be diminished. She is afraid she would not have enough water for her farm.
Guido Rachiele, Price River Water Improvement District official, said he is concerned about the loss of water to Carbon County by having water diverted from Scofield Reservoir. S.V. Litizzette, also an official of Price River Water Improvement District, asked if conservation of existing water in Sanpete County might not be an alternative to building a dam and also asked if there is a supply of underground water in Sanpete County that might be used.
Bruce Roberts asked whether the building of Gooseberry Dam might lead to building other dams such as one on the White River.
Other questions concerned such issues as the effect of a dam during drought years (such as the past four), effects on Scofield as a fishery, whether costs of the dam might not outweigh its benefits, geologic stability of the dam and whether the water might be used for purposes other than agriculture.
Franson said the issues raised would be summarized and analyzed and those attending the meeting would be informed of the results. He said there are many studies and tests that must be made to determine the effects of building a dam on Gooseberry Creek.
Critchlow said there seemed to be more people at the meeting advocating the dam than there were representing Carbon County's interests. Chris Jouflas, president of Price Water Conservancy District, said, "We were informed about this proposal and meeting only three weeks ago. We plan to represent Carbon County's interests."