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It's such a huge issue.

I doubt we'll see a trend of wet years that counterbalance the drought in my lifetime. Many of the droughts studied in the scientific record can last decades. And that's building assumptions on the historic record before AGW, which is changing trends left and right.

Utah will have a reckoning between a conservative hands off approach (like Iron Co) and growth at some point. You don't get to allow unfettered growth in a water poor region without conflict eventually arising. And relying on voluntary individual restraint won't cut it; water in the west is a great example of the tragedy of the commons.

But capping growth takes a willingness and political capital that is currently lacking. We can absorb a fair amount more growth but it means going vertical, crowding and ultimately reductions in the agricultural sector. That trend has a momentum that won't be stopped.

Broader realities are going to include: a longer wildfire season (season is already being challenged in the literature) including shortages in man power to fight them like this year; significant reductions in ungulate populations and rapid changes to the rate we get to hunt; loss of many fisheries, especially self sustaining wild ones; more emergency closures on public land to prevent human caused wildfires and protect people/infrastructure; etc.

Those shouldn't be controversial as they are already happening across the West.

Utah needs to be about 5 years ahead in it's planning then it currently is. We are going to need to see a type of collaboration at every level of government that is extremely difficult to organize in our current political climate.

The vast majority of culinary water used outside of agriculture is for turf and that needs to end. The state missed an opportunity last year to fund statewide programs to incentivize homeowner turf removal. It's really the only big opportunity we have in a conservative state to affect change on existing properties. The next step will be limiting turf on new developments which requires a massive shift in policy and flexibility in ideology.

I'm just not convinced our state will rise to the occasion. My county's kick the can down the road approach just doesn't give me hope that we have the vision needed to tackle this problem. I'd love to see the state and municipalities prove me wrong.
 

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All this discussion on here reminds me of a discussion that I had with a member over on a truck forum.

He planned on purchasing a "Ranchet" up in Wyoming that had either a creek or a river running through it. He had visions of grander in putting in a pond and diverting the water to flood irrigate a fruit orchard. I asked him if he had any water rights on the 35 acres that he planned on buying, he responded "what is a water right?" I explained to him that even with a waterway running through the middle of his property that he had no right to use the water that was flowing without the so called rights to it. He just couldn't believe that he couldn't use any of the water that was flowing across his land. I went on to explain that it was quite likely that every drop of that water crossing his land was spoken for and that at most all he was going to be able to use as far as water would be a well that he would have to sink for culinary water in his home and out buildings. He just couldn't believe any of what I told him until he reached out the the developer of the property and found out the facts of western water.

Then here in Colorado there was a landowner up in South Park with is south east of Leadville. He planted trees and in order to water them and keep them alive he would drive over 50 miles to the South Platte River and fill up 55 gallon drums in the back of his truck to take home and water them. That is until he got caught. I never did hear the outcome of that case.
 

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I hear a lot of chit-chat about "let's just run a pipeline from Canada down here to Utah and fill the lakes back up". Well I ain't no hydrologist, but a quick google search brought forth these interesting numbers.

The mighty "Alaska pipeline", 48" diameter, can carry about 32,000 gals/per minute, travels about 800 miles over mostly flat ground and through remote, uninhabited and cheap real-estate and cost about $8 billion back then.

The Green river, by comparison, carries approximately 2,750,000 gals/per minute... that's approx 86 times bigger.

Gee, I don't know, I guess Utah could afford to do that. And I am sure Canada would be more than happy to give up all the water from and area the size of the Green River drainage so we can keep our fishin holes, desert cities like St George, alfalfa fields and green lawns pretty.

My guess is it would be cheaper and more viable to just relocate... of course at tax payers expense... about 1/2 our population up to Canada.
 

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So, what's your solution?

No more developments, not happening.

No more flood irrigating? Possible but that is a bandaid on a severed leg.

I know, birth controll in all culinary water systems. But it would need to be absorbed through the skins since everyone would just start drinking bottled water.

Then there is the fiasco of trying to save the GSL. Talk about trying to put out a forest fire with a squirtgun. How about reclaiming the old Sevier Lake and filling it back up?

There are no simple solutions, just ideas.

Sent from my SM-A426U using Tapatalk
 

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All those new homes within a mile of Utah Lake and many businesses around the GSL are praying for no big winters. Looks like they have more sway on the prayer side as their prayers are being answered.....

How about we kick the Data centers out of the State? Millions of gallons of water to cool computers that store info on everything and run analytics. Never understood why our politicians lobbied to get such operations built in a desert.
 

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Are the cooling systems a closed loop or does it constantly need more? I know towns in the PNW were in big battles with Google et al because of the secret water deals the brokered with municipalities.
 

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They didn't buy all the water rights they could just to do a one time fill on a closed system. My understanding is they drilled large wells and pump continuously. Micron, the security center, facebook, etc.. among with all the others. Water was purchased throughout the aquifer and moved for use in those facilities.
 

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My honest thought is the drought breaks in the next few years and swings back the other way and is wet for a couple decades. A lot of the data from the years we have tracked, shows the swings are inevitable, but getting more extreme. So the problems will likely get worse but given historical data we should see a wet period after the dry period.
I genuinely hope your correct. It's not a far off thought either, as the earth has had every weather pattern done before. Mini ice age, and the like. Geological timelines move slow.
 

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.

"In 1962 the lake elevation was 4,192 feet above sea level, giving it a surface area of 969 square miles (620,400 acres). In the early 1980s the lake reached an elevation of 4,212 feet above sea level, giving it a surface area of 2,300 square mile (1,472,000 acres)."

Current elevation is 4,190 so who really knows?
 

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I will be concerned if the next 20 look like the past 2. If the next 20 years are as dry as the past 20, I would have no concern. There have been a lot of great hunting years in that span. People seem to remember things differently than I do. Here is how I remember it. 2019 was a record wet year even though it was followed by a record dry spell. It was a great year to hunt. The previous 8 years to that had high success rates and many units were over objective. That's been the best time for hunting in my hunting career which started in 1989. 2010 / 2011 were record winter years back to back. A lot of mountain resorts didn't open on Memorial Day because there was so much snow.. 2004 had an early winter and a lot of big bucks were killed. A few dry years followed by record rain in the Spring of 2006. At that point we were told it would take years for the reservoirs to fill. One very wet spring and a lot of flooding took care of that in about a month. I'm not concerned about development. I don't like the traffic and pressure on the mountains, but water rights are not being created. They are simply reallocated. We could have a problem if too much of our agricultural water converts into residences that do not produce anything. I'm concerned about the current water situation, but I can only hope the next 20 looks like the last 20.
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
I will be concerned if the next 20 look like the past 2. If the next 20 years are as dry as the past 20, I would have no concern. There have been a lot of great hunting years in that span. People seem to remember things differently than I do. Here is how I remember it. 2019 was a record wet year even though it was followed by a record dry spell. It was a great year to hunt. The previous 8 years to that had high success rates and many units were over objective. That's been the best time for hunting in my hunting career which started in 1989. 2010 / 2011 were record winter years back to back. A lot of mountain resorts didn't open on Memorial Day because there was so much snow.. 2004 had an early winter and a lot of big bucks were killed. A few dry years followed by record rain in the Spring of 2006. At that point we were told it would take years for the reservoirs to fill. One very wet spring and a lot of flooding took care of that in about a month. I'm not concerned about development. I don't like the traffic and pressure on the mountains, but water rights are not being created. They are simply reallocated. We could have a problem if too much of our agricultural water converts into residences that do not produce anything. I'm concerned about the current water situation, but I can only hope the next 20 looks like the last 20.
We have certainly had wet years during the last 20. We will likely have more to come. I'm talking about long term trends though. The long term trend is undeniably dry. I have also had some great hunting years during the same period you are talking about. Still, we are trending dry.
 

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87% of Utah's water goes to agriculture, 9% goes to cities for lawns and drinking and the remaining 4% goes to business/industry

).

Folks here talk about human population growth and lawns like it's the big boogie man taking all the states water.

I am not dissing the agricultural industry here, merely saying it is the elephant in the room that everyone ignores. You want to save water in Utah--improve the way agriculture uses water so there is less waste. We are talking 87% here--letting every lawn dry up in the state is going to give ya like 4% more water--whoopy do! Transition farmers away from flood irrigation to more effective forms could save multiple times that. All it takes is $
When you begin removing open ditch banks, replacing them with pipe, (that is hard to come by now, and expensive) you give up one thing for another. Your giving up habitat that is needed for ditch chickens. Other fowl and wildlife also depend on these open ditches for water and cover.

So, is one willing to give up bird hunting, etc. for some water?
 

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When you begin removing open ditch banks, replacing them with pipe, (that is hard to come by now, and expensive) you give up one thing for another. Your giving up habitat that is needed for ditch chickens. Other fowl and wildlife also depend on these open ditches for water and cover.

So, is one willing to give up bird hunting, etc. for some water?
I feel like this would have been a different discussion 25 years ago. Not many ditch chicken opportunities for the public anymore in scenarios like you describe above.
 

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When you begin removing open ditch banks, replacing them with pipe, (that is hard to come by now, and expensive) you give up one thing for another. Your giving up habitat that is needed for ditch chickens. Other fowl and wildlife also depend on these open ditches for water and cover.

So, is one willing to give up bird hunting, etc. for some water?
Yes
 
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