water

hknoblauch / istockphoto.com

A state task force is polishing its report to Gov. Gary Herbert on preparing for Utah’s future water needs. Some environmentalists are criticizing the group for snubbing public input.

www.iStockphoto.com-MariuszBlach

Thousands of Salt Lake area businesses and residents will pay higher water rates beginning today. One of the largest water providers in the state approved a rate increase this spring.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Stephanie Duer, Salt Lake City’s water guru, sums up the state’s water challenges this way: “If there was a single solution, we all would be doing it now and this problem would be solved.”

Judy Fahys / KUER News

So much water‘s been pumped out of the Cedar Valley that the ground surface and the water table are sinking, and the Central Iron County Water Conservancy District has spent years tracking down new ways to get water to the people of Cedar Valley.

Judy Fahys/KUER

What would happen to life in the West if the water flowing into streams and reservoirs shrinks by a quarter of what we've come to expect?

Judy Fahys/KUER

April 1 usually marks the time when Utah’s snow accumulation is at its height, and this year looks remarkably -- and happily -- typical.

View From the Gallery: Week 3

Feb 12, 2016

In this week’s View From the Gallery, KUER’s Brian Grimmett discovers lawmakers aren’t that interested in passing bills.

Utah House Passes Tiered Water Pricing Bill

Feb 10, 2016
Flickr: Laura Nawrocik

The Utah House has passed a bill that would require culinary water providers to charge based on a tiered rater structure.

Utah's Uncertain Water Future

Feb 2, 2016

Following Utah's hottest and driest winter on record, KUER News explored some of the most important questions of our time. Should taxpayer money be spent to develop additional water resources?  What are the consequences of extracting too much groundwater? How much is wasted from outdated water pipes? What role will climate change play as our population grows? Utah's Uncertain Water Future tells stories that span the state attempting to answer these questions and more.

Pool: Deseret News

Utah Governor Gary Herbert touted the state’s economy and recent growth in education funding during his annual State of the State speech from the Capitol on Wednesday night.

Tiered Water Pricing Could Be Mandated Statewide

Jan 26, 2016
Brian Grimmett

The Utah Senate has passed a bill that its sponsor hopes will help communities better conserve water.

Colorado River Basin Forecast Center Screenshot

The skies have been generous to Utah in the past few weeks, sprinkling the entire state with more snow and rain than normal. But that’s only part of the story about Utah’s water conditions.

“Our snow situation for today,” says Greg Smith, senior hydrologist for the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center, “it doesn’t look too bad.”

A new state audit shows the Weber-Box Elder Conservation District did not address recent groundwater flooding in Ogden effectively.

James Marvin Phelps / Flickr Creative Commons

Most years Salt Lake City’s tomato plants are killed in a hard freeze by Halloween. But this October was the warmest on record at 60.5 degrees average. Flip-flops were comfortable for trick or treating and tomatoes even survived the holiday.

Those mild temperatures are a sign that the new water season is getting off to a slow start in Utah.

Kevin Lewis / Idaho Rivers United

Federal regulators are snubbing plans for a new dam on the Bear River in Idaho that’s has lots of local critics.

The Twin Lakes Canal Company in Idaho wants to build the dam to generate 10 megawatts of energy and to store irrigation water, but staffers for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission say a license should be rejected on environmental grounds.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Many Utah leaders are applauding last week's federal court ruling that stymies updates to federal clean water regulations. In the end, they’re looking to the courts and Congress to kill the rules.

Judy Fahys/KUER

The water year begins on October 1st, and the water community is hoping a string of dry years is finally coming to an end.

Ryan Luke, an engineer with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Provo Area office, says a few reservoirs are at close to normal levels but most are low for this time of year.

Invasive Quagga Mussel Could Cost State Millions

Jul 2, 2015
Brian Grimmett

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is fighting an uphill battle against a fast spreading, invasive species known as the quagga mussel. The DWR is doing what it can to stop its spread, but there are potentially disastrous consequences if they don’t.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Jim Wright and his wife are raising three young children in Kaysville. They want state leaders to plan for a healthy economy so their kids also can live and work here. They’d like education to be high-quality and affordable. They want rich outdoor opportunities for their grandchildren even as the population doubles. That’s why Wright filled out Envision Utah’s online survey, Your Utah Your Future.

Salt Lake County Calling For Water Conservation Efforts

May 11, 2015
Brian Grimmett

The Salt Lake County Council is preparing to vote on a resolution calling for people to follow smart water conservation guidelines.

Utah's Uncertain Water Future explores Utah's relationship with water -- from the days when pioneers dug canals by hand to a future riddled with deep droughts and rising  demands. The documentary focuses on how Utah is managing these challenges, especially in fast-growing southwestern Utah. 

Judy Fahys/KUER

Scott Jones steers a snowmobile into the T.W. Daniel Experimental Forest deep in the mountains above Logan. He’s a soils physicist at Utah State University, and he’s studying how forests use and store water.

“Understanding the processes up here will help us anticipate what’s happening in the valleys and streams,” he says.

Jones and a colleague measure water the snowpack’s holding after Utah’s warmest and driest winter on record. Data like this can help water managers plan for the future.

Terry Gildea/KUER

Getting water from streams, lakes and reservoirs to homes and businesses is challenging for any city utility.  Pipe valves leak. Water mains can break. Aging infrastructure can allow gallons of treated water to escape the system before ever getting to where it needs to go.  As our series Utah’s Uncertain Water Future continues, we look at how Salt Lake City water managers are trying to maintain a sophisticated pipe system and stay ahead of leaks.

Gary Turnier / KUED

Here at milepost 80 in Enoch on 1-15 state geologists are inspecting a sinkhole on the right of way. They first spotted this jagged crack last year in images from a remote sensing survey.

“Yeah. You’re right,” says Bill Lund, senior scientist for the Utah Geological survey, speaking to a colleague. “There could be some displacement going on. And it looks like the prairie dogs have found it.”

Water managers have a chart that shows Utah’s water demands will outstrip supplies by 2040 and say it shows why the state should start expensive water development projects now.

The Legislature’s auditors spent more than a year basically fact-checking that chart, and at a hearing Tuesday they informed lawmakers important decisions about Utah’s water are being made with unreliable data.

Flickr creative commons

When we turn on our faucets at home we expect water to come rushing out of them on demand. It’s easy not to think about where that water comes from or how it’s treated.  But with climate change and persistent droughts across the West, many city water managers have to find creative ways to supply growing populations with the water they need.  We continue our series, Utah’s Uncertain Water Future, with a look at the sophisticated system that brings clean drinking water to the residents of Salt Lake City.

The State Auditor’s office released its review Monday of the embattled Jordanelle Special Service District, investigating allegations of mismanagement and misuse of public funds.

Lynn Kitchen / NCRS

Utah’s warm, dry winter means a measly snowmelt, and water-watchers are already writing off this water year as one of the state’s driest ever even though it’s just halfway over.

Most years, the dogs splashing in Parley’s Creek would find the water here cold and swift with spring snowmelt. But the stream’s running at about one-third of normal for this time of year, and that’s as good as it’s going to get. Forecasters say there’s no more runoff to look forward to.

Fusatia / Flickr Creative Commons

    

Utah lawmakers will be taking a hard look next year at how much water developers pledge for each new property.

Michael Shea

Students at Pacific Heritage Academy spent the morning planting foliage next to their building’s storm drain. The work is part of the Lower Jordan River Restoration Project.

As part of a greater study of Utah’s water system, students at Pacific Heritage Academy planted nine different types of trees and shrubs in front of their school. The “habitat patch” as it’s called will help absorb storm runoff from the school’s parking lot and provide nesting grounds for birds. Hilary Ward is a Teacher at the academy. She says the work is much more than just storm water management.

Pages