Comment on the water grab proposed by Iron County

Twelve years ago Nevada proposed a massive water pumping scheme that would have drained water from aquifers in Northern Nevada and shipped it to Las Vegas. Loss of that water would have killed off critical desert vegetation, the only thing that keeps the Great Basin Desert from becoming the Sahara Desert, and an eternity of dust blowing over the Wasatch Front. UPHE was a key player in mounting public opposition against that proposal, and ultimately helped convince Governor Herbert to kill it. It was perhaps the most important environmental victory in Utah in the last 100 years. 

Ironically, now a similar proposal is coming from within Iron County, Utah, and the results would be virtually the same. 

A Beaver County Commissioner is quoted in a Deseret article on the new proposal, “You just don’t go file on a neighboring county’s resource… You can have all the water rights in the world, but if the resource isn’t there, it isn’t there.”

We are all living through this drought together. Rather than scheming up new plans to carry on as usual, serious water conservation efforts need to be made.

USGS data demonstrate that this water pumping project –– The West Desert Water Grab –– will drop the water table by 50 feet in the coming decades in the valley that’s home to Great Basin National Park. This will steal water from Nevada over time, dropping aquifers by hundreds of feet. What for? Water officials in Cedar City don’t want to conserve desert water, they want to keep planting Kentucky Blue Grass in new subdivisions.  

The proposal is being reviewed by the BLM and public comments are being taken until March 11th. Click here to submit comments against the proposal.

Read more about the proposal here.

The dry lake bed of Sevier Lake, in Wah Wah Valley, an area that will be drastically effected by the pumping proposed by Iron County.