The fight for water: Here's why the West's oldest battle could hit you at the tap

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  • lindaj Salt Lake City, UT
    May 15, 2012 7:25 p.m.

    Read the article, which is excellent, kudos to AmyJoi. Been doing "water" for 40 years, and the situation is as described. Last year was an anomaly, mostly it has been sort of normal or drier than normal for many years. For the past 10 years the users of Colorado River water have drawn out more water than the average replacement per year. This is a good reason to be afraid, very afraid. The river allocation was done in a particularly good year and has hardly ever had enough water to fill all the "rights." As to the person above writing about nuclear plant water use, the cooling water evaporates and is lost. The choice Utah has to make is whether to have the plant to sell energy (to other states) or to have your children grow up and be able to stay here, because the water is limited and it's either lose it to evaporation or use it for your children's homes. They say the population will double from 2000 to 2040. Or maybe we'll have a nuke energy plant instead.

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    May 15, 2012 10:22 a.m.


    Look at the long term general trend, the trend is clearly that there is going to be less and less water available. Sure we had a great year last year for water, but that is becoming increasingly rare. Long term trends show we need to start worrying about this now and coming up with solutions now.

  • justamacguy Manti, UT
    May 14, 2012 12:06 a.m.

    dumprake you need to do your homework. The Wasatch front uses copious amounts of Colorado River water. It's call the Central Utah Project, and it gathers water from across the south slope of the Uintahs clear to the Colorado boarder and delivers it to the Wasatch front. That is all water that would have gone into the Colorado River. Google it and be enlightened.

    May 13, 2012 10:56 p.m.

    What is missing in all of this discussion is that water rights are real personal property like land. There is an order of priority on water, who gets how much and in what order since it is a variable resource. These rights are bought and sold but depend on ability to put it to beneficial use. Water rights are not just a matter of public policy that can change with shifting political views without trampling the private property rights of people who have built their life and land around their water - and it is their water. It belongs to them, not to the politicians, the bureaucrats, the environmental organizations, or growth planners.

  • don17 Temecula, CA
    May 13, 2012 6:16 p.m.

    To One Old Man: Well you sure wanted to pound your position in. Your points are well taken so here are a few of the parts of the Compact that I based my opinion on! I guess you should be one old man angry at conservative blah blah blah, your name calling is not becoming.

    Boulder Canyon Project Act:70th Congress: Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Represenatatives...

    Colorado River Storage Project Authority to Construct,Operate and Maintain: An Act to Authorize the Secretary of the Interior....

    The Mexican Water treaty 1944: Ratified U.S. Senate and Exchanged Nov 8 1945

    Public Law 90--537: 90th Congress Sept 1968: Enacted by the Senate and House of Represenatives.

    Supreme Court of the United States: Az v Ca. Mar 9 1964.

    The Federal Governments hand is all over this.

    My points, brought out in my origional statement, point out current federal difficulties, but, Republicans have messed with this as well. Again, as stated Federal Interference! Lets have fun with this site. Obviously we are not going to agree, but we both have valid points! Just because you assume I am conservative does not make me wrong! Just your opinion. I appreciate your comments though!

  • Harold Skill Ogden, UT
    May 13, 2012 3:56 p.m.

    Lame Yellow Journalism by the author.... The problem is easily solved.

    Drain Lake Powell, which isn't used as a drinking water source (power generation only). The environmentalists are then thrilled and overjoyed.

    Then the result is that Lake Mead (downstream) is filled to the brim with water.

    Problem solved.

  • dumprake Washington, UT
    May 13, 2012 12:44 p.m.

    But Salt Lake City get no water from the Colorado River. Why bring SLC into the conversation; neither does Ogden, or St George, or most of the population of this state. And the only cities in Nevada who use Colorado River water are Las Vegas and Boulder City.

  • dumprake Washington, UT
    May 13, 2012 11:50 a.m.

    I am disturbed by this kind of journalism. Had this story been written last year, or the year before, the theme would be that Colorado River basin water is on the rise, increasing, lakes and reservoirs are full, or fuller, than in the past. To write this story in a down runoff year, and with all the typical, dire "climate change" alarmist nonsense thrown in; just makes for a very distorted view of reality. You can throw out most of this article as nonsense with an agenda.

  • don17 Temecula, CA
    May 13, 2012 10:47 a.m.

    MyChildrensKeeper: The water used to cool a nuclear power plant is realitively small. It is recooled by water available in lakes, rivers or the ocean. It does not have any affect on the availability of the useable water supply. The only possible contaimenated water is contained similar to radiator fluid in a car while being safely cooled. The only materials buried are nuclear rods and direct contact materials which is not a lot considering a nuclear power plant can be used for 50 years or so. You might mind as well the closure of the plants when you realize a nuclear plant can power two million homes! And the power is cheap, American with no need to buy oil from hostile governments. In addition another consideration is that the 4,000 acre solar farm such as in Arizona ruins 4,000 acres and only powers tens of thousands of homes. A power plant takes up 30 or 40 acres.

    The point actually was in my opinion is that the Federal Government has micro managed Utah into a water crisis but forcing it to be sent to truelly over grown areas like Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    May 13, 2012 9:44 a.m.

    don71 -- you really need to do some serious research. The Colorado River Compact was an agreement hammered out between the states that use the river's water. It was mediated, but not dictated, by the Federal government.

    Your comment is not only way off base, it's just more regurgitation of senseless, baseless and ill-considered "conservative" talking points.

    How can we convince anyone on any side of any argument to do some research before spouting off?

  • Gramajane OAKLEY, ID
    May 13, 2012 7:05 a.m.

    We can be more responsible- like even just using less water in the toilet to flush liquids than solids and taking shorter showers while turning off the water while soaping up. We can have grass for schools and park areas or fake grass and desert yards. We can store n move water more efficiently and even just "drink all your water" instead of dumping the water left in a glass down the drain. --- I didn't see though any reference to desalting water as an option for California to do and enough with the swimming pools in so many backyards???

  • toshi1066 OGDEN, UT
    May 13, 2012 6:47 a.m.

    How about stopping phony advertising? How can I enjoy this holiday seeeing that spotless kitchen being made even more spotless by a mother, knowing that my kitchen is not even remotely that clean?

    Thanks for the guilt trip DN.

  • toshi1066 OGDEN, UT
    May 13, 2012 6:44 a.m.

    City ordinances NEED to change. Encourage people to put in less water consuming yards instead of penalizing them for it. Yes Ogden, I do mean you! I won't be watering this summer, my winter bill topped 80 dollars.

  • MyChildrensKeeper Taylorsville, UT
    May 13, 2012 5:33 a.m.

    States like to blame citizens for excessive use but developers have no respect for the land or nature and resources.

    Utah and the Salt Lake valley has reached its saturation point of population, development, and its resources and its time for stopping and re-examine the direction the west is going. Our aquifers are now being threatened by industry and development & state budget greed.

    By laws we are locked in to many of our habits and customs, like swimming pools, golf courses, lawns and sprinklers with bans on drilling wells and water runoff salvaging. What is most devastating for Utah and the rest of the nation is that California heavily seeds the easterly clouds to mine water and snow from the clouds. This deprives the rest of the nation of its right to this rain water moving east resulting in down wind drought.

    I have no problem shutting down nuclear power plants as the water they use cannot be reused for tens of thousands of years and it is buried in drums hundreds of feet underground. Utah does not have thousands of years or spare water for them.

  • don17 Temecula, CA
    May 12, 2012 11:01 p.m.

    Part of the problem as well is that well over 50 percent of your water goes to California to help 20 million other people. Why, because the Federal Government says it has too! Why? Well it has to do with 50 plus electoral votes! And right now a Democrat President and a very Democrat California! And lets not leave out Nevada and Harry Reid! What little water you get is stolen by the Federal Government because they know best!

    The Feds: Thats why a Nuclear Power plant is closed down, 10 coal fired plants, 5 oil refineries! All since the first of the year. The crazy micromanagement of the Feds will leave Southern Utahns broiling in the summer and Northern Utahs freezing in the winter when you see your 300 percent increase in energy in 2013. It's coming like it or not says the Federal Government! They are shoving it down our throats!

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    May 12, 2012 8:51 p.m.

    Zero-scaping homes should be the norm. Raising the fees for water usage would pay for improvements to the delivery system and also provide incentive for users to conserve. The thought of giving water from west central Utah aquifers to Las Vegas has become a bad joke rather than a serious proposal.

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    May 12, 2012 8:45 p.m.

    Maybe we could send a pipe up to Canada?

  • Capsaicin Salt Lake City, UT
    May 12, 2012 8:04 p.m.

    The problem is simple. All new subdivisions have to grow desert plants and not lawns. Utahs have made an Oasis in the desert. But that's the problem. Most of the rain comes from the pacific. Most of that water falls west of the sierra Nevadas due to the height of the mountains. The problem are lawns and non-desert type thinking. Why would you even want to pay for a lawn in the first place? They just require non-stop maintenance. If you need green move east of Nebraska and Missouri where plant life flourishes in the warm humid air. Warm because its closer to sea level; humid because soil is ripe for plants and plants cycle the water. They pull it from the air and the ground. Just like the amazon, water that falls in the amazon, re-falls into the amazon over and over and over. Not unless Utah suddenly dropped 4000 feet in sea level will that ever happen. We don't have the soil, Nevada is a desert wasteland, and we don't have the water. So, lets learn to live in the desert.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    May 12, 2012 5:40 p.m.

    Liberal environmentalists. We have plenty of water. We need to get rid of the EPA and build more home with lawns and golf courses in Vegas and St George.
    On the other hand, we could do the responsible thing and cut back consumption. Future generations will be grateful.