LOGAN — Although summer is still months away, officials are already warning of likely water shortages for the rest of the year. The warnings come as Utah Governor Spencer Cox declared a state of emergency Thursday due to continued drought conditions.
Locally, the Cache Water District is trying to maximize the water available in the county while advocating for conservation. Board member Jeannie Simmonds was a guest this week on KVNU’s For The People Show and spoke about the limited water resources in northern Utah.
“The Bear River is a big source of water for three states: Wyoming, Idaho and Utah,” said Simmonds. “(The river) begins and ends in the state of Utah because of its interesting horse-shoe shape. We do as a state have rights to a very large share of that water but that is all controlled by a committee that is created at the federal government level.”
Most cities in the valley have their own water supplies and manage their own water resources, without the river. Cache County is currently allowed 60,000 acre feet of water from the river and the water district is trying to maximize that allotment.
Simmonds said the county hasn’t had to tap into that allotment but it will be needed as the valley continues to grow. The water district has received several grants recently to conduct studies on several crucial water systems.
“They are called PL-566 grants. One of them is looking at the Logan River Watershed and the other one is looking at the Wellsville/Mendon Canal System,” Simmonds added, “to get public input and decide how best to maximize both the flow of those resources, the longevity of those resources, and address storm-water at the same time.”
The water district is urging residents to follow the statewide initiatives: Slow The Flow and Water Wise Utah. The programs help promote sustainable water use through the state.
Simmonds said the water district has also partnered with Utah State University again, funding a program where residents can have their sprinkler systems checked for free.
“We are funding again students that will go out and do water checks on your sprinkler systems, making sure they are delivering the appropriate amount of water to your lawn, not too much or too little.”
Residents can sign up for the water checks at cwel.usu.edu.