Utah State Water Plan  January 1990

Section 2

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

          The State Water Plan is presented in 20 sections. This section is a brief summary of the 19 other sections, which cover all aspects of Utah's water resources.

          Each section is bound separately to allow assembly of the 20 sections in a 3-ring binder for easy reference and use. The title indicates basically what is in each section. Some interrelationships occur among sections and cross referencing is used wherever possible. The 20 sections are listed inside the back cover of each section.

           The following headings are titles of each of the sections summarized. Issues and recommendations are numbered to agree with the order of presentation in each appropriate section. The reader should study other sections of the plan for more information.

Foreword

          Access to water determines the quality of life in all cultures. Utah is no exception.

          Stewardship of Utah's water resources has been one of the primary concerns of citizen leaders throughout the state's history. Within its broad responsibility to enhance the quality of life and general welfare, the state has a more specific obligation to plan and encourage the use of its resources in a manner that will best serve the physical, social, economic and environmental needs of the people.

           The State Water Plan is an ongoing process to establish and implement the state's policy on water management. Agriculture, municipal and industrial water, pollution control, recreation, wildlife, flood control, and drought response are all recognized as important components. To be complete, this plan must give direction for moving water supplies to points of demand while it encourages system developers and users to be good stewards of the state's natural resources.

           Water planning, like the resource itself, flows continuously. Periodic checking and gaging are necessary to recognize changing conditions. this requires that the general plan, along with basin plans which identify potential development projects, be updated periodically.

Warner Lake, La Sal Mts., Grand County - Utah Travel CouncilIntroduction

          Section 3 describes the foundation for the State Water Plan. State water planning began in 1963 at the direction of the Utah Legislature. Additional legislation in 1984 and 1985 led to an interagency planning team. The State Water Plan blends the input of state and federal agencies and private contributors into a workable and clear framework for the future. It is an attempt to arrive at a consensus on what should or should not be done to meet the diverse needs of Utah's present and future residents.

           The guiding principles were formed to blend a myriad of perspectives, values and interests. These provided the foundation for the organization and process to prepare a state water plan.

Demographics and Economic Future

          The population and economic aspects are discussed in Section 4. Although Utah will continue to be a growth state, it may not experience the rapid rates of the past. The population is expected to increase by about 40 percent in the next 20 years. Growth in seven counties will exceed the state average while 22 counties will grow below the average. Washington, Davis and Morgan counties appear to be growing the fastest.

          Employment is expected to increase at a slightly higher rate than the population. Agriculture, mining and government are projected to decline as percents of total state employment. The trade and service sectors are expected to increase. High technology-oriented firms are expected to increase as part of the economic base while federal defense and space programs will decrease. Generally, the unemployment rates will remain higher and wages lower in Utah's rural areas where the economy is resource based.

Water Supply and Use

         The basic natural resources, water and land, are briefly presented in Section 5. Utah's precipitation varies from 5 inches to 60 inches with a statewide average of 13 inches. The average yield from the watersheds is about 8.5 million acre-feet with about 1 million acre-feet of this recharging the groundwater basins. Total water depletions are 4.9 million acre-feet. Of this total, about 2.2 million acre-feet are depleted by irrigation of crops. Municipal and industrial use is 204,000 acre-feet. By the year 2010, municipal and industrial use is expected to be 303,000 acre-feet. Irrigation depletions increases slightly to nearly 2.4 million acre-feet.

           The goal of state water planning is to provide water to meet the changing needs of present and future generations. Since high-quality water is becoming scarce and more expensive, an important leadership role must be played by the state's elected officials.

           Utah's policy makers must also decide if water will be used as a growth management tool. This plan assumes it will not. However, where the need for a water supply is anticipated, every attempt will be made to meet it.

          Along with potential in basin water developments, several inner basin transfers could be implemented or enlarged. Generally, movement of water is from the Bear and Colorado river basins to the Wasatch Front. There are also opportunities to transfer water to the Sevier River drainage and the Cedar City areas.

           The total area of Utah is nearly 54.4 million acres, including nearly 1.7 million acres of water areas. About 35 million acres, or 66 percent, are administered by the federal government. There are nearly 19.4 million acres of state, Indian, and privately owned lands.

           Agriculture is the largest land user on all ownerships. This includes grazing use on state lands and lands administered by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Total cropland area is nearly 1.9 million acres. Of this amount, about 1.1 million acres are irrigated and 0.8 million acres are dry cropland.

ManagementDowntown Salt Lake City - Utah Travel Council

          In general, as discussed in Section 6, management of water in Utah lies with the entity owning the right to use the water. There are times when management decisions involve conflicts. These include demands in excess of supplies, water quality degradation, and recreational and environmental values. to efficiently manage water, existing and new technologies need to be utilized along with widespread conservation programs.

          The Colorado River Salinity Control Program is designed to reduce the salt loading in the Colorado River. This will enhance and protect the quality of water available to users in the lower Colorado River in the United States and Mexico. this program provides technical and financial assistance to control salt sources in eligible project areas. Coordination of the program is carried out through the Departments of Interior and Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum.

          Section 6 discusses four issues concerning ways to improve management of the water resources. These are: (1) Storage reservoirs for management; (2) conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater; (3) stream and reservoir gaging for management; and (4) system management methods.

          (1) Storage reservoirs can reduce streamflow fluctuations and provide late season water supplies. They may also exert both beneficial and adverse impacts on recreational and environmental resources.

           "Recommendation - The Division of Water Resources should continue to encourage the construction of reservoirs to regulate and manage streamflows where projects are economically feasible and technically, financially, and environmentally acceptable. Where possible, water storage projects should be designed to provide multiple use and benefits."

          (2) Often, the development and use of surface water and groundwater supplies is by different water right owners. The conjunctive use of these water supplies is seldom encouraged.

          "Recommendation - Water suppliers, administrators, and users should be encouraged to manage the groundwater reservoirs in conjunction with the surface water supplies with technical support from the Division of Water Rights."

          (3) Measurement of streamflows and reservoir storage are essential to good management. Many measuring stations are being eliminated because of reduced funding. Adequate funding and staff are needed to maintain cooperative measuring programs.

          "Recommendation - Cooperative programs among federal and state governments and local entities for stream and reservoir gaging should be continued. Programs monitoring groundwater conditions should also be maintained. Adequate funding and staff should be provided to quantify these water resources. Local water users, should increase their contributions to the gaging programs."

          (4) Water resources management can be enhanced in existing and future developments by incorporating uses for more than one purpose.

          "Recommendation - The Division of Water Resources should develop methods to help administrators, planners, and users assess and improve management of the state's water resources. The use of structural and nonstructural, as well as multipurpose alternatives, should be considered when it is to the common advantage of all parties concerned."

Regulation/Institutional Considerations

          Section 7 discusses the regulation of water. Utah water law, adopted in 1903, is based on the doctrine of prior appropriation, which provides that the first appropriator in time is first in right. Since that time, a number of revisions of the law have been made, but the basic concept has remained the same. In 1935, water law was expanded to include groundwater. The Division of Water Rights, under the direction of the State Engineer, regulates water allocation and distribution and carries out the dam safety program.

          The Utah Water Pollution Control Act regulates the discharge of pollutants into Utah waters. The Utah Water Pollution Control Committee implements the rules, regulations, policies, and continuing planning processes necessary to prevent, control, and abate new or existing water pollution. This is carried out through the Bureau of Water Pollution Control.

          Originally, the U.S. Public Health Service set standards for drinking water quality which were generally adopted by most public health agencies. With the passage of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency became actively involved. The state of Utah, through the Bureau of Drinking Water/Sanitation, has accepted the primary enforcement responsibility for federal drinking water standards.

          Six policy issues need to be resolved. These are: (1) Water rights transfers; (2) federal claims of reserved rights; (3) water rights enforcement; (4) underground injection control program; (5) stream channel alterations; and (6) Federal Energy Regulatory Commission policies.

          (1) There is a question of the need for administrative controls to restrict transfer of large blocks of water. The increasing demand for municipal and industrial water has resulted in transfers of agricultural water rights for these uses. The current practices within the market place seem to adequately handle these transfers.

          "Recommendation - The marketplace should continue to be the primary means of reallocating the state's water supply. The State Engineer should continue to exercise administrative control to protect water right holders who are impacted by transfers but not included in the transactions. Large transfers should be analyzed to determine if associated environmental and social costs can be mitigated or absorbed by those who benefit."

           (2) Reserved water rights on federal and Indian lands are not fully defined or established under state water law. These claimed rights could impact existing water use and future water development.

           "Recommendation - The state should actively pursue resolution of reserved water rights claims through litigation, direct negotiation, and/or legislation and continue to protect the right of the state to control and administer its water supply."

           (3) Currently, when a water use is illegally expanded, court action is required. This can be cumbersome and consuming.

           "Recommendation - The State Engineer should seek legislation to strengthen and streamline enforcement procedures."

           (4) An environmental assessment is underway by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of the methodology used for hazardous waste disposal through injection wells. The current assessment should continue to determine if additional controls are needed.

           "Recommendation - The Bureau of Water Pollution Control and the Division of Water Rights should continue to cooperate on geothermal injection control. Water quality issues of injection projects should continue to be assessed, and where warranted, increased regulatory requirements should be implemented. Water Quality should not be sacrificed for water quantity."

           (5) Stream channel alteration is a continuing problem. It is essential to maintain the integrity of stream channels.

           "Recommendations - The Division of Water Rights should expand monitoring and enforcement capabilities for the stream channel alteration program and implement a statewide education program. A flood release strategy should be developed for all reservoirs with high downstream damage potential."

           (6) Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) policies are infringing on state water laws. These policies must be resisted and reversed, using whatever means are available.

           "Recommendation - Utah must continue, in cooperation with the other Western states to resist actions by FERC that supersede state law. This includes closer federal/state communication and coordination, negotiation, litigation, and Congressional involvement, if necessary."

State and Federal Water Resources Funding Programs

           Water development requires the collective efforts of the beneficiaries to provide adequate and timely funding, as described in Section 8. There are many funding programs available at the state, federal, and local levels. Increased funding or additional funding programs may be needed to meet the accelerating costs and demands for water development.

           The following three issues discuss funding needs. They are: (1) Sources of public funding; (2) increasing state funding; and (3) funding public purpose projects.

           (1) Current legislative and congressional funding fluctuations make long-range water planning and development difficult. Local funding sources are not always adequate or available.

           "Recommendation - Studies should be conducted to determine ways to return part of federal water resources project grants to appropriate state agencies to increase existing revolving fund programs. State funding sources should be analyzed to determine reliable alternatives to increase existing revolving fund programs."

           (2) The availability of federal funding for large developments is decreasing. This, along with increasing costs, makes additional state involvement necessary to provide water development needed by future generations.

           "Recommendation - State agencies with water-related programs should continue to seek additional funding."

           (3) Uses for public purposes should be included in water development projects. This will usually require funding from public sources or special user groups.

           "Recommendation - Water resources conservation and development projects should be constructed to include multiple uses where feasible opportunities exist. Public purposes, such as flood control and recreation, should be financed with public funds or by beneficiaries of the designated use."

Bear River, Box Elder County - Div. of Water ResourcesWater Planning and Development

           The Utah Board of Water Resources through the Division of Water Resources and its staff, provides financial and technical assistance to guide and direct the state's water resources program, as outlined in Section 9. This includes assistance through three revolving fund programs, basin or areawide planning, data collection and inventories, and other specialized programs. A well-planned, viable water resources planning and development program is essential to the wise use and conservation of Utah's natural resources.

           Other responsibilities are included to carry out the Board's mission and goals. These include weather modification (cloud seeding) to enhance and modify precipitation patterns, protecting Utah's interests in its interstate streams, and conducting an effective water conservation and education program.

Agricultural Water Conservation and Development

           Section 10 discusses Utah's agricultural industry. Utah contains about 5.6 million acres of arable land. About 1.1 million acres are irrigated and about 0.8 million acres are dry cropland. This, along with extensive use of large areas of private, state, and federal range lands supports Utah's agricultural industry. Current agricultural problems are caused by an unfavorable economic climate, urban encroachment, and an erratic water supply. Nevertheless, agriculture is still the mainstay in rural Utah. This industry is sustained by various financial and technical assistance programs.

           There are four agricultural, water-related issues to be addressed. These are: (1) Irrigation water development and management; (2) competition for agricultural land and water; (3) agricultural-induced nonpoint pollution; and (4) use of saved water.

           (1) Water storage facilities are needed to provide irrigation water for late season use and to regulate streamflows for other beneficial purposes. Improved water use efficiencies can also extend the available supply.

           "Recommendation - The Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources should establish a coordinated planning process to insure consideration of current and projected water uses. Technical assistance programs need to be accelerated to provide education and training to help farmers achieve greater irrigation efficiency."

           (2) Demands are increasing for land and water. This often results in the loss of prime agricultural land and the accompanying water supply to other uses.

           "Recommendation - The Utah Department of Agriculture should continue to study ways to stabilize the existing agricultural and water supply base and should identify and promote new agricultural development to replace lands converted to other uses."

           (3) Agriculture is a major contributor to induced nonpoint water pollution. There are various programs with technical and financial assistance available to assist farmers with best management practices to reduce pollution.

           "Recommendation - The Utah Department of Agriculture and Utah Division of Water Resources should give preference, when providing financial assistance to farmers and irrigation companies to encourage implementation of best management practices to protect water quality. The Utah State University Extension Service, Utah Department of Agriculture, and Soil Conservation Service should accelerate the nonpoint pollution information and education program."

           (4) Incentives are needed to encourage water conservation. Increasing water use efficiencies can be expensive and often water users believe they are entitled to any water saved.

           "Recommendation - The State Engineer's Office and other agencies should continue to promote and encourage the implementation of water conservation measures. The true benefits of such measures, as well as the affect on other water rights, need to be closely evaluated. If water users can demonstrate a savings of water to the hydrologic system that will not adversely affect other water rights on the system, then they should be allowed to use the water through the filing of an application to appropriate, which will be considered along with other applications."

Drinking Water Supplies Development and Management

Weber Basin Water Conservancy District Plant 4, Davis County - Div. of Water Resources            In the past, most of Utah's drinking water was supplied from springs. As pointed out in Section 11, increasing demands require development of more expensive surface water and wells. Ninety-eight percent of Utah's population receives its drinking water from public water supplies. The remaining 2 percent uses privately supplied water. Of the public systems, 94 percent are approved, 4 percent are conditionally approved, and 2 percent are unapproved.

           Section 11 discusses two issues: (1) Water system operators certification; and (2) drinking water source protection.

           (1) Protection of drinking water supplies is a primary concern. An equal level of protection is not afforded to small communities as is available in more populated areas.

           "Recommendation - The Bureau of Drinking Water/Sanitation should seek legislation to amend Section 26-12-5 of the Utah Code to require operator certification of all public drinking water system operators, not just those operators serving more than 800 people, as is currently required to pass a test consistent with the complexity of the system."

           (2) Drinking water sources established early in the state's history are not always adequately protected. Protection zones need to be established to insure high quality water.

           "Recommendation - Local communities should obtain special use authorization for spring sources on National Forest lands. A memorandum of understanding should be drawn up with the Bureau of Land Management to assure statewide protection of drinking water sources on public lands. For sources on state and private lands, the Safe Drinking Water Committee should work with the attorney general's office to determine what protective mechanisms are appropriate and then act to get them implemented."

Water Pollution Control

           Section 12 discusses water quality activities in the state. Utah has had a program to control both point and nonpoint water pollution since passage of the Utah Water Pollution Control Act of 1953. Emphasis has been on controlling point sources of pollution which are usually more significant in highly populated areas. At the present time, there are 104 municipal wastewater treatment facilities in Utah. They have a 90 percent compliance rate. This is an excellent compliance rate and is considerably better than the national average.

           There are five water pollution control issues. These are: (1) Funding of wastewater treatment facilities; (2) water quality antidegradation policy and process; (3) water quality in major impoundments; (4) groundwater quality protection strategy; and (5) water quality management plans.

           (1) To maintain and improve the quality of Utah's water resources will require additional wastewater treatment facilities. Many smaller communities have inadequate financial resources to meet their needs.

           "Recommendation - The Bureau of Water Pollution Control should conduct a study to identify possible funding mechanisms for small communities which are unable to finance their sewage facilities needs without state and federal financial aid."

           (2) Federal and state laws require an antidegradation policy and process to preserve water quality. Utah has adopted the needed policy standards. There is now a need to develop and implement a process to carry out the policy.

           "Recommendation - The Bureau of Water Pollution Control should develop processes and procedures to implement the water quality and degradation policy. The Division of Environmental Health should further implement controls on toxic pollutants from municipal, industrial, and nonpoint sources."

           (3) There are water quality problems in some of Utah's major water storage reservoirs. These problems are mostly caused by excessive nitrogen and phosphorus.

           "Recommendation - The Bureau of Water Pollution Control should conduct water quality investigations of major storage reservoirs in cooperation with locally designated, areawide water quality planning agencies. Watershed specific, water quality management plans for the control of phosphorous, nitrogen, sediment, and other pollutants should be developed where necessary."

           (4) Groundwater provides about two-thirds of Utah's public water supply as well as water for other uses. Protection of groundwater is imperative and should be a continuing process.

           "Recommendation - The Bureau of Water Pollution Control should continue to implement the Ground Water Quality Protection Program, including groundwater quality regulations. The regulations should include groundwater quality standards, aquifer classification, and groundwater discharge permitting."

           (5) Development of water resources should go hand-in-hand with quality control. Water quality management plans were prepared about 10 years ago and are out of date.

           "Recommendation - The Utah Bureau of Water Pollution Control should prepare water quality management plans concurrently with the Division of Water Resources' river basin water development plans in order to protect and/or enhance the water quality for designated uses."

Disaster and Emergency Response

Sandbaggers battling 1983 flooding in Salt Lake City - Deseret News           There is always the potential for damage to water resources and related facilities during a disaster as pointed out in Section 13. Utahns have demonstrated the ability to react when emergencies strike. However, long-range planning and project implementation can reduce the damage from emergency situations.

           Eight policy issues regarding floodwater control and management, and disaster, emergency, and drought response are addressed. These are: (1) Flood prevention and floodwater control; (2) state buildings in flood plains; (3) flood plain regulation; (4) lake flood plain regulation; (5) planning for disaster mitigation of water supplies; (6) disaster response and recovery; (7) public awareness of disaster program availability; and (8) state drought response plan.

           (1) Flooding from upper watershed areas damages the area itself as well as developments in downstream floodplains. Floods will occur from time to time and a coordinated statewide program should be directed to reduce the damage potential. The Soil Conservation Commission watershed subcommittee should be expanded to enlarge and accelerate current flood control programs.

           "Recommendation - The Commissioner of the Utah Department of Agriculture should chair this enlarged subcommittee with representation from all state, county, and federal entities with flood control and related interests. The subcommittee should prepare a coordinated statewide flood control plan that will reduce future floodwater and sediment damage."

           (2) There are times when buildings financed with state funds are constructed in flood plains. This practice may not be the best use of public funding.

           "Recommendation - The Division of Facilities Construction Management should regulate construction of state buildings in flood plains as part of its approval process for construction or remodeling state facilities. Where it is determined construction in flood plains is the best alternative, the building design should be compatible with the location."

           (3) Development in flood plains is inevitably going to be damaged by flooding. Flood control projects cannot provide protection from all damages. If development continues, damages will increase.

           "Recommendation - Local governments should enact and enforce ordinances to protect and manage mapped flood plains. Long-term planning to relocate or flood proof existing structures exposed to excessive risk in known flood plains should be implemented by local and state governments.

           (4) Recent flooding around the shorelines of Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake have indicated a need for lake flood plain regulation. In this area, the beneficial development area, potential damage to developments should be identified around fluctuating lakes.

           "Recommendation - Effected counties should take the lead to regulate development along the shoreline of the Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake, and perhaps other lakes."

           (5) Earthquakes, landslides, and flooding pose threats to water supplies and delivery and distribution systems. Measures to mitigate damages should be planned in advance.

           "Recommendation - Water systems should be evaluated to determine their vulnerability to geologic hazards, and measures taken to reduce this risk. All new projects should include an element of geologic investigation prior to design and construction to identify hazards and recommend mitigation measures. Information regarding geologic hazards statewide for use in such investigations is available at the Utah Geological and Mineral Survey."

           (6) Various state agencies have the responsibility to provide their expertise to mitigate the effects of natural disasters. Coordination of these activities is presently lacking.

           "Recommendation - A detailed plan should be developed (including necessary agreements) by the Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management to assure essential water supply needs are met after an earthquake or other disaster event. The plan should set up a permanent mechanism to train the operators of vulnerable water supplies in emergency water planning. The Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management should establish an active working relationship with water resources oriented agencies for disaster response and recovery."

           (7) When a disaster occurs, various entities at the local, state, and federal levels have authority to implement assistance programs. These programs, their application and limitations, are not well known.

           "Recommendation - The Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management should prepare a pamphlet describing the disaster relief programs and funding sources available to state and local agencies."

           (8) Periodic droughts have occurred statewide and in localized areas. Predrought planning can improve the effectiveness of relief activities.

           "Recommendation - A state drought response plan should be prepared under the direction of the state drought coordinator. The plan should be jointly prepared and subsequently updated by the Department of Natural Resources and the Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management with assistance from other state and federal agencies impacted by drought."

Fisheries and Water-Related Wildlife

           Section 14 discusses the value of fish and wildlife to the people of Utah. It is important to protect fish and wildlife and their habitats for future generations. As future growth requires additional water development, recognition of water-related wildlife needs should be considered. The state has authority to manage wildlife populations wherever they occur within its boundaries and to manage wildlife habitat on lands owned by the state. The Division of Wildlife Resources is the state's authority, trustee and custodian of wildlife.

           Section 14 discusses six issues. These area: (1) Continuing loss of habitat; (2) protection of stream resources; (3) stream channel integrity and function; (4) reservoir construction impacts; (5) water delivery systems and wildlife conflicts; and (6) wetlands protection strategy.

           (1) Increasing development creates demands for Utah's finite water resources. Projects to develop, divert, store, and deliver water to users often diminish the quantity and quality of wildlife habitat.

           "Recommendation - Preproject planning on major water development facilities should consider wildlife and environmental needs. The Division of Wildlife Resources should be involved in developing and evaluating studies to help identify ways to alleviate adverse impacts."

           (2) Demands for the use of stream resources is increasing. Knowledge of stream values has not kept pace with water development.

           "Recommendation - The Department of Natural Resources should sponsor a statewide rivers assessment to identify relative values for all major streams, rivers, and reservoirs. Agencies affected and interested in the state's water resources should participate. The assessment should be reviewed and updated periodically to incorporate changing values."

           (3) Over time, streamflows tend to stabilize the streambed. If stream channels are altered, this upsets the hydraulic regime and causes erosion and sediment deposition, impairing stream use for fish and wildlife purposes.

           "Recommendation - The Division of Wildlife Resources should develop guidelines and procedures for stabilization of degraded streams and encourage their use."

           (4) Reservoir construction changes the stream regime. This modification of streamflow causes temporary sedimentation, blocks fish migration, and inundates habitat. It can also improve downstream fisheries by releasing larger than normal flows during the irrigation season.

           "Recommendation - Wildlife values should be considered in reservoir project site selection. Mitigation of adverse environmental impacts should be considered as part of any project and should be reflected in project construction, operation, and maintenance costs."

           (5) Water delivery systems may cause adverse impacts to fish and wildlife populations. These include modifying migration patterns and increasing mortality rates from drownings and herbicide use.

           "Recommendation - Water delivery systems should be designed, operated, and maintained to minimize conflicts with wildlife, whenever possible."

           (6) Wetlands are an important resource. They provide habitat for aquatic and terrestrial wildlife. They also act as groundwater recharge and discharge areas and as floodways. Wetlands provide pollution control by filtering pollutants and sediments.

           "Recommendation - The Department of Natural Resources and Division of Environmental Health should prepare a wetlands protection strategy."

Recreational Aspects of Water Development

           Water-related recreation and development are discussed in Section 15. Future water conservation and management may be a source of, or detriment to, recreation enjoyment. Storage reservoirs create opportunities for flat-water fishing and boating. They also remove opportunities for stream fishing at onstream reservoir sites. Opportunities for rafting, aesthetic, and other uses of free-flowing streams can be enhanced or reduced by water development projects.

           The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation is responsible for recreation in the state. This includes developing and operating a state parks system and administering the state boating and off-highway vehicle laws.

           This section presents three issues: (1) Rivers assessment; (2) riverway enhancement program funding; and (3) interagency coordination for recreation.

           (1) The inherent nature of river and stream systems, including reservoirs, means various uses may be negatively impacted as other uses are accommodated. There is no adequate plan for the use of these resources.

           "Recommendation - The Department of Natural Resources should sponsor a statewide rivers assessment to identify relative values for all major streams, rivers, and reservoirs. Agencies affected and interested in the state's water resources should participate. The assessment should be reviewed and updated periodically to incorporate changing values."

           (2) The Provo-Jordan River Parkway Program has indicated the benefits, i.e. increased property values, reduced flood damages, and improved water quality, available to the state and local communities. Parkway development can accommodate many uses including floodways, fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, and agriculture.

           "Recommendation - The Division of Parks and Recreation should identify a stable funding source for a riverway enhancement program to address multiple use and development of the state's river and stream areas."

           (3) Providing quality recreational experiences can bring about many related problems. These include user conflicts, access, overuse, and inadequate facilities. The State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) helps define state policy and use of funds to address these problems.

           "Recommendation - The Division of Parks and Recreation should formulate a process to facilitate interagency decision making for recreational issues. The process should set up a group that represents agencies which effect or are affected by recreational activities. This group should recommend recreational development through the SCORP process and other appropriate avenues."

Federal Water Planning and Development

           Section 16 presents a brief perspective of the 11 federal agencies with major water resources planning and development authority and responsibility. Their programs and organizational structure can effect Utah's water planning and development objectives. The federal role in funding water resources programs is rapidly decreasing while its regulatory role seems to be increasing. As a result, the state is becoming more involved, particularly when financial assistance is required. There are also added costs to the state to carry out federally mandated regulations.

           Program coordination problems are stated as concerns. The four concerns identified by federal agencies are: reserved water rights, state/federal interrelated planning and development, stream and riparian habitat loss, and water rights filings.

roject iB>Water Conservation

           Water conservation, as discussed in Section 17, can be defined as wise use. Significant water use reductions can be achieved when people understand the reasons to conserve. Water conservation can be pursued through two basic strategies: (1) More efficient operation of the storage and delivery facilities by the water provider to increase supply; and (2) more efficient use by users to reduce demand. Both of these can be further subdivided between structural measures and nonstructural means for operating facilities more efficiently. Implementation of many conservation measures will present new challenges in securing authorizing legislation and funding, developing integrated policies, setting an appropriate balance of government and the private sector, and integrating research and education for technology transfer.

           Section 17 discusses the following nine conservation related issues: (1) Water supply efficiency; (2) dual water systems; (3) irrigation water development and management; (4) home and municipal water savings; (5) pricing; (6) water reuse; (7) landscaping; (8) water supply timing; and (9) water education.

           (1) Regional or statewide coordination of water deliveries may conflict with local jurisdiction. Efficiency increases can be realized from temporary trades, such as between agricultural users and municipalities during extreme droughts.

           "Recommendation - The state should develop methods to assess and improve system operating efficiency and disseminate this information to local water suppliers."

           (2) Dual water systems represent a tradeoff between increased risk of health problems and more efficient use of the available water supply. This can also reduce the water supply and treatment costs as well as reducing the peak demand on municipal systems.

           "Recommendation - Dual water delivery systems should be encouraged if they reduce total municipal and industrial water supply use and/or costs. To protect the public and enforce health standards, the state should provide technical assistance to help communities develop monitoring and operational procedures."

           (3) Adequate storage facilities and efficient delivery systems can increase the volume of late-season irrigation water. This should be accompanied by water right enforcement, better delivery scheduling and recording, and more short-term storage. Onfarm irrigation efficiency improvements can also make existing water supplies go further and reduce water pollution.

           "Recommendation - Irrigation companies and other water user entities should be more aggressive in requesting state and federal agencies to provide educational, technical, and financial assistance to help achieve greater irrigation efficiencies."

           (4) There are always questions on when and where home and municipal conservation programs should be undertaken and which entities should be responsible. There are numerous water conservation devices to reduce withdrawals for domestic, industrial, commercial, and landscape irrigation uses. Although regulations can promote conservation, education can make it more attractive and will allow individuals to choose water-saving habits to fit their needs.

           "Recommendation - Major water suppliers and state agencies should develop specific education programs promoting water savings. The state should assist local governments in drafting and enacting effective indoor water conservation regulations and enforcement programs, both as general policies and for emergency implementation during droughts."

           (5) Water utility rates affect both future investment and water use. Large price increases are generally resisted by the public and inflict special hardship on low income users. Many doubt that price increases are effective in reducing water use on a long-term basis.

           "Recommendation - The Division of Water Resources should promote studies to provide information to water suppliers concerning price structuring to encourage water conservation."

           (6) Future water shortages and cost considerations will generate increasing pressure to reuse rather than discharge wastewater. Increasing industrial water use will add new reuse opportunities. In urban water reuse, health protection is the major concern. In agricultural recycling, salinity buildup and trace elements are limiting factors. continuing research is needed to protect public health and prevent long-term soil-salt accumulation.

           "Recommendation - The Utah State University Water Research Laboratory, with the advice of the Divisions of Environmental Health and Water Resources and the Department of Agriculture, should continue to investigate technological opportunities for efficient water reuse."

           (7) Modification of landscaping practices can reduce domestic water use although this will conflict with established practices in Utah. One approach is to convert from grass cover to drought-tolerant landscapes. Various degrees of water savings are: plant trees whose shade reduces evapotranspiration from underlying plants, add organic matter to increase soil moisture retention, institute more effective yard watering control, landscape with plants native to arid climates, or shift to nonvegative groundcover.

           "Recommendation - Mandatory programs are not presently warranted but could be considered by some communities where water resources are limited and costly to develop. The Division of Water Resources should investigate and disseminate information on options for saving water in landscaping."

           (8) Growing communities periodically face water delivery shortages during years when they cannot afford the cost of expanding their water treatment and delivery systems. Postponing delivery and treatment facility expansion increases the probability of service interruptions and adds to health and fire hazards. Water conservation during periods of peak demand prevents pressure losses that interrupt service, contaminate waterlines as shallow groundwater enters the system, and reduce water pressure below fire protection requirements.

           "Recommendation - Water suppliers should identify and promote methods for shifting water use from peak periods to other times."

           (9) As population and industrial growth increase demands on water supply, more public involvement is needed in resource management. Public understanding of the fundamentals of water science is basic to solving present problems and preventing water-related problems in the future. Utah core curriculum in elementary grades includes specific areas of water study in science courses. The need now is to develop materials for secondary education and the general public on wise water use.

           "Recommendation - The Division of Water Resources, in cooperation with other state and local agencies, should expand its water education program in the schools. The program should specifically target water conservation and management methods. It should be coordinated with university and water science programs to incorporate the latest information and teaching techniques. The general public should also be the recipients of timely water conservation and management helps."

Industrial Water Use

           Section 18 discusses industrial water use such as production needs, evaporation for temperature control, and carrying away waste. Water is also used for industrial landscaping and aesthetic appeal. The primary industrial uses of water are energy conversion, metals extraction and processing, manufacturing of inorganic chemicals and hydraulic cement, and food processing. Quality requirements vary from minimal to more stringent than those for culinary water.

           Six issues are discussed in Section 18 relating to industrial water use. These are: (1) Coordination in water resources planning; (2) existing regulatory authorities for industrial uses; (3) relationship of industrial water use to waste treatment; (4) cooling water; (5) energy resources development; and (6) industrial development.

           (1) Competition for water supplies will increase in the future as will industrial use of wastewater treatment facilities. Even though many industries use self-supplied water, they can easily compete on the open market to purchase water if necessary.

           "Recommendation - Industrial water supply requirements and wastewater treatment needs should be integrated into local water management policies. Industrial development may offer opportunities for water users to cost share with industry in the construction of storage reservoirs, delivery systems, and municipal wastewater treatment plants."

           (2) Existing industrial water supply, use, and discharge is regulated by several state agencies. The future will pose new threats to public health and the environment as uses change or increase.

           "Recommendation - The Division of Environmental Health should pay special attention to the safe disposal of industrial wastes, particularly hazardous wastes, by adopting an effective monitoring system and conducting a regular review of management programs. They should also encourage joint cooperation of industry and government on short and long-term impacts and ways to deal with them."

           (3) Industries can take large portions of the available water supply, thus creating excessive downstream quality problems. As regulation and treatment standards increase, wastewater disposal costs become a more important industrial consideration.

           "Recommendation - Industrial wastewater discharge standards and policies regulating water use should protect the public interest regarding quantity and quality."

           (4) Presently, large amounts of good quality water are used for industrial cooling. Technology exists to reduce fresh water use but it is not being used.

           "Recommendation - Uses of advanced cooling technology and brackish waters should be encouraged to reduce industrial use of high-quality water."

           (5) Someday, higher energy prices may favor development of the fossil fuel resources of eastern Utah. This will increase consumptive use of water for energy production.

           "Recommendation - The state should identify ways for supplying water for energy development in each of the basin plans."

           (6) Since the economic growth of Utah depends largely on industrial development, the state is seeking new industry in an active recruitment program. Water supply is important in attracting desired growth industries into Utah. Direct industrial use and the needs of workers and supporting services in nearby communities will increase.

           "Recommendation - Utah should continue to use its natural resources to encourage industrial growth. Recruitment should match industrial water quantity and quality requirements and waste disposal needs with local availabilities."

Groundwater

           The relationship of groundwater to the total water needs is discussed in Section 19. Because of its widespread occurrence, groundwater is a major factor affecting economic growth in Utah. Groundwater supplements streamflow for irrigation, public water supplies, and environmental uses. In some areas, it is the primary supply available. About two-thirds of Utah's population depends on groundwater as a public drinking water supply. Groundwater supplies about 20 percent of the total water used for all purposes.

           Section 19 discusses three issues: (1) Groundwater and surface water conjunctive use; (2) groundwater mining; and (3) artificial groundwater recharge.

           (1) Surface water and gorundwater supplies are usually developed by different entities. This does not utilize the advantages of conjunctive use.

           "Recommendation - Water suppliers, administrators, and users should be encouraged to manage groundwater reservoirs in conjunction with surface water supplies with technical support from the Division of Water Rights."

           (2) The state does not generally permit groundwater mining. Groundwater withdrawals are usually limited to the long-term annual recharge. Where aquifers discharge to surface streams, groundwater development is limited to protect downstream rights.

           "Recommendation - Groundwater mining could be permitted, on a case by case basis, in undeveloped areas where large groundwater reservoirs exist and when it is shown to be in the state's best interest. Mining should not be allowed to damage the aquifer or adversely affect prior rights or water quality."

           (3) Spreading surface water, ponding, or well injection are potential methods of recharging groundwater supplies. Recharging declining groundwater aquifers could slow or possibly stop the downward trend in groundwater levels. This could reduce the cost of pumping, provide additional water supplies in times of drought, and utilize surface water that otherwise may be lost during wet years.

           "Recommendation - State water rights and water quality laws should be reviewed to determine what, if any, additional legislation is needed to address the various water rights and quality considerations of artificial recharge. Studies should be made to identify artificial recharge areas.

River Basin Summaries

           Section 20 contains a summary of the river basin plans. Each individual detailed river basin plan will be published as a separate document.

           The basin plans will identify potential development projects, regional and local water management concerns, water quality issues, wildlife and recreation uses, and water development and conservation needs. A balanced plan with alternatives will be developed for each basin.

           Each basin planning advisory group will play a key role in plan development. They will also help determine the need for revising and implementing the basin plans.

 

 

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