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 amid Utah’s historic drought. None of Utah’s water agencies have a surplus. But, those who have more are ready to help Weber Basin Water, which needs it most.

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

“With the drought, we have been really worried about our future water supplies, and have been for a long time,” said Darren Hess, deputy district superintendent of Weber Basin Water Conservancy.

So they approached the Provo River Water Users Association to purchase up to 20,000 acres of their water and keep 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’ve worked long and hard over the last year or so to get this agreement between seven, eight parties,” Hess said.

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

“They are the ones who sell the water from the Weber Basin and then they release water to the Provo River water users so that the Provo River always has its water,” the GM assistant said.

A unique arrangement will allow shareholders of the Provo Association to draw water from the Strawberry Reservoir through a system of pipes and tunnels operated by Central Utah Water.

“Because we have so little water on this side this year, we thought if we could work with these agencies on this side, and they are willing to do that, that would really help us.”

Delivery of this water into the Weber Basin system will be at the Weber-Provo Canal near Francis, above Jordanelle Reservoir.

Aware of its extreme shortfall, Weber Water has already implemented unprecedented watering restrictions. But that doesn’t change any of those restrictions in place for the season.

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

Thus, the Provo River Water Users Association will not have less water than expected. It is not excess water. It is water shared with those who have the least.

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

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