Other districts are now stepping up to help Weber Basin Water Conservancy

LAYTON, Utah — Weber Basin Water Conservancy District and its customers face extreme challenges in the midst of Utah’s historic drought. None of Utah’s water agencies has a surplus. But, those with more are willing to help Weber Basin Water which has the most dire need.

Weber Basin only has about 15% of its average water supply this year. But, several agencies have banded together to come up with a unique solution to help Weber Water.

“With the drought, we got really concerned about our future water supplies, and have been for a long time,” said Darren Hess, assistant general manager of Weber Basin Water Conservancy District.

So, they approached the Provo River Water Users Association about buying up to 20,000 acre feet of their water, and keeping it on the Weber River, instead of diverting it to the Provo River. That’s enough water to fill a small reservoir like Rockport.

“We worked long and hard for the last year or so to get this agreement made between seven, eight parties,” Hess said.

That includes the Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of the Interior, Metropolitan Water District of Salt Lake and Sandy, Provo River Water Users, and Jordan Valley Water. The Central Utah Water Conservancy District manages this water, and enables this purchase to happen.

“They are the ones actually selling Weber Basin the water, and then they are releasing water to Provo River Water Users so that Provo River still has their water,” the assistant GM said.

A unique arrangement will allow shareholders in the Provo Association to take water from Strawberry Reservoir through a pipeline and tunnel system managed by the Central Utah Water.

“Because we just have so little water on this side this year, we felt like if we could work something out with those agencies on that side, and they are willing to do so, it would really help us out.”

The delivery of this water into Weber Basin’s system will happen at the Weber-Provo Canal near Francis, above the Jordanelle Reservoir.

Recognizing its extreme shortfall, Weber Water has already implemented unprecedented watering restrictions. But, this does not change any of those restrictions in place for the season.

“Without this purchase we would have even more restrictions than we currently have right now,” Hess said. “So, it enables us to be able to deliver the water at least that we have available to deliver.”

So, the Provo River Water Users Association will not have any less water than anticipated. This is not surplus water. It is water being shared with those who have the least.

Weber Basin Water Conservancy District has the option to purchase this water for the next seven years.

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