Utah Rivers Council river defense coordinator Amy Defreese wants to exercise the conservation option before spending $59.4 million on construction of the Narrows Project on Gooseberry Creek.

Defreese issued a statement Wednesday in response to the Central Utah Water Conservancy's new-construction cost update, which jumped from $24 million in 2004. The project includes building a dam for a 17,000-acre-foot reservoir to supply water to residents and farmers in Sanpete County.

"We no longer live in the 20th century, when expensive water-development projects were funded by the federal government," Defreese said. "It is a new era, one of using our existing water supplies more efficiently."

Her group, along with Carbon County officials, opposes the project, still in a planning phase, because of its costs, impacts to Carbon County's water supplies and the effect it will have on fishing in the area.