Salt Lake County water conservancy officials on Monday declined to endorse a plan to build a pipeline that would carry water from Spanish Fork Canyon to the Provo River, saying their stamp of approval could interfere with the completion of the Central Utah Project.
Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, asked the Salt Lake County Water Conservancy District Board April 21 whether it would endorse a conceptual plan of his to make the CUP more flexible by adding a new pipeline to the Wasatch Front water conveyance system.But endorsing the plan might make it look like the conservancy district is trying to lay claim to irrigation water that will be developed in the CUP's irrigation system, if financing problems can be solved. Supporting Owens' proposal might also put the district on the spot to buy water in the future at a price that is currently unknown, said Gerald K. Maloney, chairman of the county water conservancy district board.
Maloney also questioned the wisdom of building a pipeline that would be used no less than 20 years from now, if it is used at all.
The CUP's irrigation system would carry water from Spanish Fork Canyon south as far as Yuba reservoir. Owens told the board that farmers may want to sell at some future time when Salt Lake County needs additional culinary water.
Building the additional pipeline would make it possible to convey the irrigation water north instead of south. The conservancy district, in a letter that is being prepared for Owens, said the CUP will meet its demands until 2010. While it doesn't want to close any options for water supplies, the district wouldn't have a use for the pipeline until then.
The aqueduct Owens proposes, which could cost anywhere from $50 million to $300 million, would carry the water only as far north as Provo, Maloney said. An additional pipeline would be needed to get the water from Provo to the Salt Lake Valley.
Owens "hasn't really worked through any of the details as far as I know," said district General Manager David Ovard.