When it comes to water, Utahns are very protective.
Sen. Fred Finlinson, R-Murray, is finding that out as his bill to create a Bear River Task Force moves along. The bill was approved by a Senate committee Wednesday.The Bear River is the last major river in Utah that is not a main source of drinking water. The river is the next source for Wasatch Front water, and numerous studies have been done on where to locate dams on the Bear.
Finlinson, a water attorney in private life, wants the task force to figure out how to pay for dam construction, who will buy the water and at what costs. The task force would have 19 members, but only eight would come from areas in the river's drainage.
Rural lawmakers worry about that balance. "The north (of the state) has the water (rights) but can't pay for the projects. The south (mainly Salt Lake and Davis counties) can finance it, but doesn't have the rights. If this becomes a regional (water) war, no one wins and the Bear won't be developed," Finlinson said.