Through the development of scientific studies defining the aquifer within the Cedar Basin it has been documented that additional water resources will be necessary to sustain the growth and further development within the area. Without water, the future economic development will be impacted by the availability and costs of existing water supplies to accommodate only the growth capable within our current water budget. Recognizing that there is not one solution to fix all the water issues in the basin, in August 2015, the CICWCD solicited ideas from the public and other professionals to ensure clean, and reliable water will be available in the future.
Water levels in Cedar Valley have been declining since the 1940’s and the CICWCD continues to look for opportunities to mitigate water decline and plan for the growth of the future. Conservation continues to help support long-term sustainablility. Sharing resources and managing water on a regional basis as well as developing additional waters, and increasing storage either above or below ground needs to become part of the solution. These as well as many other ideas were compiled and reviewed by independent professionals for their sustainability and feasibility. The Review Panel submitted to the CICWCD board their comments and prioritization of the project implementation.
Submissions of Water Development Projects and comments from the Panel
The links below include the original submissions as well as the notes from the experts listed above. The discussion on each of the projects were very informative as they helped to understand the direction that will most benefit the aquifer in Cedar Valley. The consensus of the group had labeled the following prioritized projects to provide the 50 year water future of the valley.
- West Desert Pipeline
- This project is the only to provide a long-term sustainable water resource for the valley. This was seen by all that it is a necessary project for the long-term good of the aquifer and the viability of the Cedar Basin.
- Aquifer Recharge Projects
- This project was highly encouraged by all members. It was thought to be the best way to help improve the aquifer and the best use of water the valley is receiving.
- Aquifer Balance Project
- The Balance project is a good way of spreading the demand of the aquifer and would help certain areas of large withdrawal. However, this is not a new source of water and further evaluation of the cost of new infrastructure versus aquifer damage should be considered by the District.
- West Well
- The West Well is a viable option if the Iron Mines begin operation again. The cost associated with new infrastructure as well as trans-basin cuts in water deliverable need to be considered if this were to be used in Cedar Valley.
- ARCo Three Peaks Well Re-Entry
- This is a positive idea for research because of the information that could be gained from an existing well. However, the supposition that additional water is existent at these lower depths is incorrect. The infiltration rates discussed in the Fractured Quartz Monzonite Aquifer are not realistic and over simplified.
- Quichapa Creek Well Re-Entry
- This project will affect the overall system much the same and the ARCo Three Peaks Well Re-Entry project. It weighs the same concerns. The water at the higher elevations is likely already contributing to the basin fill aquifer.
- Cretaceous Well 1 at Sheepherders Cabin Road
- If water were pumped from this location is likely connected to nearby springs and would have a direct impact on the production. It is assumed you would be pumping water that is already making its way to valley naturally. Also, the only way that water rights could be changed to this location as a point of diversion would be to acquire the most senior rights in Coal Creek and dry up agriculture in the process.
- Winn Gap Reservoir
- If water were to be taken from the waste water treatment plant it would fall under the same requirements for depletion and return flows as the original water right was subject to. Therefore, you would not be able to use 100% of the water from the WWTP. From a Geologic perspective the dam would be high hazard and would be very expensive to permit and build.
The Independent Review Panel consisted of:
Kerry Carpenter Retired Professional Engineer. Kerry spent his career working for the Division of Water Rights and was the Southwest area Engineer. He finished his career as the Enforcement Officer for Division of Water Rights.
Hugh Hurlow, Senior Scientist of the Utah Geological Survey, Hugh has over 20 years of experience as a Geologist with the UGS and has authored “The Geology of Cedar Valley,… and its relation to ground-water conditions” and assisted in other reports done on the Cedar Valley, Iron County.
Phil Gardner, Hydrologist, USGS has authored “Evaluation of the Effects of Precipitation on Ground-Water Levels…” and multiple other reports involving ground-water among the Great Basin Carbonate and Alluvial Aquifer Systems.
Russ Barris, is the area specialists for the Cedar/Beaver basin for the Division of Water Resources. Russ has developed reports regarding the reliable annual water supplies for all public community water systems in the Cedar/Beaver Basin by county and source.
Russell Hadley, has been with the Division of Water Resources for 20+ years and worked on several water projects for entities within Iron County.
Dan Aubrey, has been with the Division of Water Resources for 20+ years and is very knowledgeable about the formations throughout the state and how it relates to wells.