U.S. Water News Online
LEHI, Utah -- An official is calling it a "water war."
Two Utah County communities are claiming their supplies will be
diminished if the state allows new wells to be drilled by Salt Lake
County-based water agencies.
"We found they are proposing to pump more water out of the county
than is used by all the (northern Utah County) cities combined," said
Barry Edwards, Highland city administrator.
The state is considering a request by the Jordan Valley Water
Conservancy District and the East Jordan Irrigation Co. to drill six
wells in Utah County.
"It's a real water war," said Lorin Powell, Lehi city engineer.
"It's going to be a travesty if it is not stopped. It would
drastically affect our ability to use and obtain water from that
Ten years ago, the Jordan Valley district filed applications to
drill wells but retreated after the state received 700 letters of
The district, which says its rights date back to 1870, now
believes it can no longer wait.
The district acknowledged it has the right to send the water to
Salt Lake County but said most of it would be used in the Utah County
sections of Draper, where 5,000 homes are expected to be built.
Lehi and Highland mailed thousands of letters to residents asking
them to write the state and oppose the wells.
"It's going to lower the aquifer, and it's going to cost more
money to get water out of the ground," Edwards said.
John Mann of the state Engineer's Office said the impact on water
users will be evaluated.
More than 10 years ago, the Jordan Valley district began
purchasing land in Highland, Alpine and Orem, said Richard Bay, chief
The cities knew the district had first right to the water and
intended to drill wells, he said, adding that a study to be released
in 2007 will show there is enough for everyone.
"We recognize the need to be a good neighbor and don't want to
frustrate the long-term needs of the cities," Bay said.
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