a guide to chart the direction water development will take in the future - is meant to be a flexible document that is easy to update and change, but several Provo residents say it may be inflexible if the plan doesn't look at water rights.
In a public hearing Monday with officials from the Utah Division of Water Resources, David Lyon of Provo said including water rights in the plan would give him more confidence in state agencies."I'm concerned that the mayor will not have authority over (the city's) rights on the Provo River," he said. "I would like to see the plan look more carefully at water rights."
But Paul Gillette, assistant director over planning for the Division of Water Resources said those who have water rights are in control. "In our minds, we are not neglecting it in the plan. We don't try to answer it.
"Water rights are protected. No one is suggesting that water rights are in jeopardy. Only your people (those you elect) can decide."
Larry Anderson, division director, said changes in water rights are made by legislation or Utah courts. "We have a good water rights structure in the state of Utah," he said.
The plan will not solve all the state's water problems, officials said, but it will help coordinate agency activities at the local, state and federal level and will aid in the legislative process.
Anderson said the division hopes to get public feedback on the plan before it becomes the guide for the state.
"There may be issues you may not agree with," Anderson told the group. "We need input on those type of things. We may have forgotten something. We don't profess to know everything."
Worries that the state will use its water for more urban development and less agriculture were also expressed by residents, but Gillette said, "we really need agriculture in Utah. It was rural Utah that made it through the recession" while other industries were failing.
Provo resident Dale Despain praised the plan and Water Resources officials. "Everyone is here to help you make a document that will be worthwhile for most people over the longest period of time."
The state's population is expected to double in the next 40 years, says the plan summary report. This is even greater reason to address Utah's water needs and where water should be used, it says, and conservation will most likely play a major part in the future.