Op-Ed: Dry times in Utah highlight importance of long-term water management

Written by: Peter Reichard

It’s when your throat is parched and you’ve been baking in the hot sun that you most appreciate a glass of cool, clear water. We appear to be in such a moment at a statewide level. As of May 1, the 2020-21 winter snowpack in most of the state’s measured basins was well below median, and in some cases less than half of the median level. While one bad year may not plunge the whole … Continued

Video: How Utahns Pay for Water

Written by: Christopher Collard

Utah Foundation’s first short video of 2020 is an overview of five reports from 2019 that make up the Paying for Water series. The series outlines the pros and cons of a greater reliance on water rates, and how this might affect certain areas of concern. Paying For Water Series This series contains an executive summary and four main parts: Executive Summary: Paying for Water: A Brief Summary of the Series Part 1 – Background: … Continued

How should we pay for water? A matter of priorities

Written by: Peter Reichard

It can be said that the modern history of Utah began with water — and a bet. The year was 1824, and Jim Bridger was sitting around with his fellow mountain men in Cache Valley, on the banks of the Bear River, laying bets over where the water flowed. To settle the bet, Bridger followed the river down and found a giant, briny inland sea. Ever since, water has shaped the contours of Utah’s history … Continued

Utah Thrives: Paying for Water

Written by: Dan Bammes

What’s the best way for communities in Utah to share the cost of providing water? How can municipalities and water districts encourage users to conserve so in the long run, there will be enough to go around? Utah Foundation looked at those questions in a new series of research reports. In this edition of Utah Thrives, we’ll hear from Research Analyst Christopher Collard, along with Ron Thompson from the Washington County Water Conservancy District, Tom … Continued

Utah Thrives: Mine Reclamation

Written by: Dan Bammes

Mining was a driving force in America’s frontier legacy. A century and a half ago, prospectors and miners began pouring into the Mountain states from Montana to Arizona, in search of wealth or at least a living. As a result, the landscape is peppered with old mines they left behind. And while they’re a fascinating part of the history of the West, abandoned mines can pose a present-day challenge. In this edition of Utah Thrives, … Continued

Utah Thrives: Water Quality

Written by: Dan Bammes

Water supply and quality were ranked in 6th place on the Utah Priorities Project top ten list. In this edition of Utah Thrives, Dan Bammes talks with Walt Baker, the director of the Utah Division of Water Quality and with Gene Shawcroft, the CEO of the Central Utah Water Conservancy District about some of the big picture issues of maintaining a water supply sufficient for Utah’s future growth and to maintain critical ecosystems such as … Continued

Priority #19: Utah’s Increasing Population

Written by: Mallory Bateman

This post continues our blog series on concerns that many Utah voters expressed in our survey that didn’t make the cut for our top ten list. In the mid-2000s, Utah cities began emerging as some of the fastest growing places in the country. This contributed to “dealing with growth in Utah” being ranked 8th in 2004. By 2008, it had dropped to the 10th spot, 2010 saw the topic fall out of the top 10 and by … Continued

Legislature Looks at Property Taxes for Water Systems

Written by: Dan Bammes

Utah Foundation President Steve Kroes speaking to the Utah Legislature’s Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee June 17, 2015   The Utah Foundation research report Flowing Toward 2050: Utah’s Water Outlook recommended that Utah policymakers “re-examine the role of property tax funding for water agencies, with a goal of reducing tax support and increasing water rates,” as well as creating “more significant price gradations in block-rate water plans.” The Utah Legislature’s Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee … Continued

Hay! One Crop is Utah’s Biggest Water Consumer

Written by: Dan Bammes

A center-pivot sprinkler system irrigates alfalfa near Snowville, Utah   A pdf version of this post including end notes is available here.   Once again this summer, all of us in Utah will be urged to “Slow the Flow” and use less water for washing, brushing and flushing. Not a bad idea – but the water we use in and around our homes represents only a small share of the total water use in our … Continued

Top Research Findings of 2014: Part III

Written by: Shawn Teigen

Two reports took the four top spots in 2014.     4: The particularities of current water usage in Utah…   In the second most arid climate in the nation, a vast majority of our water is used in agriculture and to keep our Kentucky blue grass green. (Flowing Toward 2050, released in September 2014.)     3: “…decreases have not necessarily translated into fewer high pollution days.”   Utah (and the U.S.) has been … Continued