The water question: Tapping into one of Utah's biggest challenges

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  • Tom097 Los Angeles, CA
    Dec. 16, 2014 2:23 p.m.

    Hmm...the US's fertility rate is just barely above replacement, and Utah's is still less than 2.5 births per woman. I wonder where the extra population to fuel this surge in demand is coming from? It's not just natural increase.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    Dec. 15, 2014 1:25 p.m.

    There is no technical reason that waste water can't be refined for reuse, they do this in Orange Co. and LA already. Look up "designer water" and read about it. You'd think with the USU connection to the space program, they'd have significant knowledge base to accelerate the introduction of such processing. Using our waste water effectively is one sure way of not needing to go find much of your future needs. Add improved water use techniques in agriculture and we're a long way to offsetting growth driven needs.

  • shabam Ogden, UT
    Dec. 14, 2014 11:25 p.m.

    GOP BIG GOVT is conservative for corporatism... so when they sell out the constitutional guarantees by abridging it with patriot act, corporations united labeled as citizens united, then fighting public safety with individual gun rights. Next, comes breaking the Epa funding and other consumer protection and environmental agencies in order to get a kickback for corp fav'd legislation... well, this is an issue for the people, where their govt does not care, so when the gop raise your taxes and blame everyone else, but take personal responsibility you get a broken down govt that takes your money and gives nothing in return over and over.
    but, brand name career politicians like Hatch, and a few new ones who are only partisan, are not getting it, Governing is by and for the people, not corps and the wealthy for kickbacks.
    That is not a Republic, nor is it conservative, nor is it a democracy... it is Corporatism. So kiss your Democracy and governing by and for the people good bye.

  • Red Smith American Fork, UT
    Dec. 14, 2014 10:25 p.m.

    Utah's water shortage is artificially created by Utah's Water Cartel sitting on the Water Task Force writing laws to immobilize Utah's water by changing Utah's water transfer code 73-3-3.

    Utah is actually gushing with water. Of 60 million acre-feet of annual precipitation, Utah's uses 10% or 6 million acre-feet (1 million cities/businesses and 5 million af for Agribusiness).

    The Great Salt Lake depletes 3 million acre-feet of water a year, because of poorly planned water projects like piping water from Spanish Fork River to Salt Lake County where its used once and discharged into the Great Salt Lake to evaporate.

    The CUP promoters borrowed billions in federal dollars to develop about 0.2 million acre-feet of water (0.1 million for cities and 0.1 for farmers, they promised to cut 1.5 million acre-feet of water use in Utah.

    Not exactly a Warren Buffet deal. Why are cities that don't need water appointed to the CUP board?

    We need someone from outside the crony system to come in and fix Utah's water like Nevada State Engineer.

    District Judge Stone is presiding over a $3 water case. The Utah Supreme Court issued a water rulings over $18 worth of water.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Dec. 14, 2014 8:46 p.m.

    Don't listen to those who say the sky is falling, stop population growth, we are running out of water, we are running out of oil. There have always been those worry-warts who saw the end of the world just around the corner. Malthus in the 1700's was worried about explosive population growth that would strip the world of its resources.

    When I was a kid, the pundits of the day were saying we would run out of oil by the year 2000. They had me worried as a child that I would one day not be able to drive a car, heat my home or feed my family (a byproduct of running out of energy would be the inability to harvest or transport food). This week I bought gas for $2.27 a gallon, a price lower than the price I paid over 30 years ago, when adjusted for inflation. Thank heaven there were innovative risk takers who found new ways to find and recover energy who didn't listen to the naysayers.

    Mankind as a wonderful way of responding to challenges, and adapting. We will adapt as the population grows.

  • John Locke Ivins, , UT
    Dec. 14, 2014 8:25 p.m.

    All I can say to most of the comments above is: Wow! Do away with golf courses? Limit growth? Limited children? Limit farming? Limit water useage at home?

    I think we all know what the elephant in the room is...but, we will just have to leave that up to the Him.

  • Joemamma W Jordan, UT
    Dec. 14, 2014 5:24 p.m.

    Let me see.
    A scientific article was recently published by a group of scientist who have discovered with almost 100% certainty an ocean of water below the crust of the earth containing at least twice to three times the amount of water we have on the surface including our oceans. It's just a matter of figuring out how to bring it up?? Can't be that hard.

    Pllllease. Two thirds of the planets surface is covered in water and there's at least twice that amount under the surface.
    Finite.. Really??

  • BU52 Provo, ut
    Dec. 14, 2014 3:13 p.m.

    The population of Utah is expected to nearly double in the next 35 years. Not if there isn't enough water. Those projections are based on past growth, but as things get more complicated they may not pan out.

  • mrjj69 bountiful, UT
    Dec. 14, 2014 2:47 p.m.

    the problem isn't lack of water, it is too many people. water is a finite resource. it wil not last forever.

  • SLC Grandma Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 14, 2014 2:43 p.m.

    I remember in past years there was a lot of discussion about the aquifer in the southern Utah/Nevada state line region that Nevada felt it had rights to. What was the outcome of that debate? Did Governor Herbert stand strong so that land would not turn into a dust bowl or did he cave in - I don't recall what happened.

    I agree with Essence who commented about a big pipeline to transport water to Southern Utah from Lake Powell. It would be a huge, inefficient, costly mistake, in my opinion. The Virgin River has a long history of overflowing its banks - surely some underground (non-evaporating) storage system could be devised to store/control excesses of this water until it's needed. The St. George area used to be an oasis in the desert, amazing with its red rocks and natural beauty. To me, it's been so over-developed that it's more like an extension of Las Vegas and other "commercial" cities, so much so that it's difficult to relate to its historic origin. We need less development and more appreciation of the nature of the land we live in.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Dec. 14, 2014 2:30 p.m.

    to essence:

    Jordanelle was anything but a mistake. It is called good foresight and planning. We cannot go back to the days when there were 3,000 Europeans on American soil. Yes, we can do a better job with managing our resources, and we should. But the folks who want to keep everything a wilderness, avoid building pipelines to carry water and/or energy, and who want to avoid building reservoirs and dams are not only being short-sighted, but are being unrealistic and dangerously naive.

    Jordanelle has allowed many, many more Utahan's to enjoy a spectacularly great standard of living. So has Starvation/Strawberry. And while there were costs to building these, both environmental and budgetary, the benefits have far outweighed the costs IMHO. People can disagree on this, as some would be happy living in a pup-tent on public land. But for most Utah families, these projects have been the source of incredible opportunity and happiness.

  • goodnight-goodluck S.L.C., UT
    Dec. 14, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    Too bad no one seems to understand the resource is finite, not infinite. So would you rather have water to drink, or water for 10,000 sq feet of Kentucky Bluegrass. Water for agriculture or golf courses. The elephant in the room is the unrestricted birthrates and the scream that we should have a tax deduction for all of these little souls, regardless of the societal costs.
    Can we make better use of grey and brown water? Use only reclaimed water on yards and gardens? Tier culinary water prices to make the users pay, especially industrial users of culinary water, which will drive up operating costs and interfere with the profit margin, which in Utah is generally a no no.
    One thing is certain, we haven't the water to waste on a nuclear power plant near Green River so the Californians can have "clean green" energy. Nor do we have enough culinary water to continue using it on private lawns and public as well as private golf courses.
    Hard choices, limit use, recycle better, limit growth, or do nothing and wait to turn the tap and watch nothing come out.

  • essence Ivins, UT
    Dec. 14, 2014 10:08 a.m.

    One more thought regarding Envisions Utah's "Your Utah Your Future" online interactive model. I've done this and feel it's interesting but question what's behind the outcomes of the inputs. A model is only as effective as the assumptions that were used to create it. When I went through the model, I had lots of questions about why I got the answers I did. It's not completely clear to users.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Dec. 14, 2014 10:07 a.m.

    "the 2 best ways to address the water issue is population control; aka stop all of the incessant developments that only lead to a declining quality of life for those already in Utah as more and more people move there"

    Utah's population growth is much more a factor of high birth rate than net migration. If you truly want to address "population control" you would be best served by talking to the child producing locals.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Dec. 14, 2014 10:01 a.m.

    The left likes to pontificate about overpopulation, a favorite theme since the beginning of time. If the left wouldn't block every water project from dams to pipelines, we could solve most every problem with a little forethought and planning.

  • essence Ivins, UT
    Dec. 14, 2014 9:59 a.m.

    I write in response to this comment: "If it hadn't been for Jordanelle, we would have been in serious trouble," he said, adding that environmental groups mounted stiff opposition to the project, which was completed in 1993. "There were groups who did not want that built," he said. The question is: Did Jordanelle solve the problem or exacerbate the problem? I and others would answer that it exacerbated the problem by making more growth happen which has now put us in the same situation. The Lake Powell Pipeline and other huge projects will not solve our problem either. Growth will come until there is no more water and then we will need to learn to survive with what we have and make do. Other places have done it. They have not withered and died on the vine. They've used innovative ideas. That's what we should be going - innovating not sticking to the tried and true of building more big projects that just will need more maintenance and add to the problem.

  • bullet56 Olympia, WA
    Dec. 14, 2014 9:30 a.m.

    The west will always be limited by water. Intelligent use will allow longer use of the resource. There are 134 Golf Courses In Utah, sucking up acre feet of water a year. Green summer lawns have to go, native plants must be used for landscape, and reclaimed water are some keys to the future. Drought or abundence, water bats last.

  • WillTheWolf CHICAGO, IL
    Dec. 14, 2014 9:19 a.m.

    "15 year drought"? What? Did I miss something? I lived in Utah from 2005 - 2012, and 3 of the 7 years saw snow totals well in to the 600" range at several of the ski areas.
    That being said . . . the 2 best ways to address the water issue is population control; aka stop all of the incessant developments that only lead to a declining quality of life for those already in Utah as more and more people move there. The second prong should be limiting the amount of water supplied to farmers. Most of Utah is a desert that cannot support much plant life without the assistance of artificially enhanced irrigation. Crops should not be grown in a desert when we have plenty of viable areas in the US much more capable of growing crops. Leave the farming to the midwest and plains states where the only water problem we've had the past few years is too much of it.

  • Northwest Reader Vancouver, WA
    Dec. 14, 2014 8:23 a.m.

    Thank you Amy. This is a timely article and reminder. Clearly the limited allocation of water is not just a farcical creation as demonstrated by the diverse group of voices sharing their concerns. Now is the time to protect this most precious of resources. Let's do it! It is worth it!

  • JJ1094 Saratoga, UT
    Dec. 14, 2014 7:01 a.m.

    The Bear River is the largest tributary to the Great Salt Lake - where we build a massive pump project to ensure that the lake did not overflow.

    Would in not make sense to divert a large amount of that fresh water into Salt Lake County and thus releasing much of the water they draw from other areas of the state? We all would have won with a little better thinking by Gov. Bangerter by thinking of fresh water use instead of how to pump briny water.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Dec. 14, 2014 5:55 a.m.

    Lots of people are OK with conserving our resources as long as they don't have to make any changes or be caused any inconvenience.

    For examples, see Low-Flush toilets and CFL bulbs

    If people are vocal about these minor minor issues, think about the outrage if they are asked to make a REAL sacrifices.

  • DVD Taylorsville, 00
    Dec. 14, 2014 12:36 a.m.

    I understand that Los Angeles is running a large reclamation project that has worked really well in water management? I can't seem to find the article at the moment, but it might be one to invest in for Utah's urban areas.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 14, 2014 12:02 a.m.

    " Groundwater mining or overpumping in Utah has led to restrictions on new development."

    Oh, perish the thought! We can't possibly have enough development!

  • Yanquetino Ivins, UT
    Dec. 13, 2014 11:21 p.m.

    "The population of Utah is expected to nearly double in the next 35 years."

    THAT's the problem, the elephant in the room. We keep debating what bandaid solutions to use, rather than curing the disease. The planet is not growing, its resources are finite, and in this case there is just so much water than recirculates every year in Utah. It is high time that we said "enough is enough." STOP the growth!