Elements of the Central Utah Project funding bill now before Congress are not intended to grab water from Wasatch County to meet Salt Lake County needs, officials say.
Gerald K. Maloney, chairman of the Salt Lake County Water Conservancy District and a director of the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, said published reports saying Salt Lake County is trying to grab water from its eastern neighbor is totally false.Wasatch County officials recently complained about the CUP bill's provision that additional water rights along the Provo River be obtained to augment water supplies intended to keep Provo River flows adequate to meet downstream environmental needs.
After a visit to Washington, D.C., by county commissioners, the bill was amended to allow those water shares to be obtained anywhere along the river drainage. The original language said the shares would have to be obtained in areas above Deer Creek Reservoir, wording that Wasatch officials felt would target their county.
At Thursday's Central Utah water meeting, Maloney said the CUP bill is a delicately balanced compromise bill and should not be tampered with.
"Where were the Wasatch people when this was being discussed?" Maloney asked. "This has been going on a long time and there was plenty of time to make comments."
Maloney was especially critical of fellow director Dave Wilson's remarks that were printed Nov. 30 in a Salt Lake newspaper.
"I'm not aware of anyone in Salt Lake County trying to buy water from Wasatch County," Maloney said. "It causes me concern to see this kind of crap hit the papers."
Wasatch County water users are especially concerned over a plan to prevent water diverted from the Strawberry side of Daniels Pass into Daniels canyon. Many officials believe such a diversion would dry up a substantial area of Wasatch County's prime agricultural land. And, many contend, this would set a precedent for drying up other areas of the Heber Valley.
Wasatch officials also contend that a special allocation being set aside for county use from the Jordanelle Dam that is currently under construction is not sufficient to off set the potential loss.
Farmers in the Daniels Canyon area and other water users in Heber Valley have been meeting in recent weeks to develop plans to prevent water shares in the valley from being sold to people outside Wasatch County.
Wasatch County Commission Chairman Moroni Besendorfer met with the district board Thursday afternoon to request better communications and a better working relationship. He asked that the district board stay in contact with county officials to keep them informed of any activities affecting the county.
Board Chairman Roscoe Garrett said the district has approved a plan to have board representatives meet a minimum of twice yearly with county commissioners in the counties covered by the Central Utah Proj-ect. He said additional meetings would be scheduled if needed.