CEDAR CITY, Utah (ABC4) – According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, Iron County is currently experiencing a ‘severe/extreme drought’.
Leaders at the Central Iron County Water Conservancy District say this is why President Joe Biden’s latest trillion-dollar infrastructure bill targeting environmental challenges is crucial. Local leaders are also working to add additional water supplies to the region, as Cedar City continues to grow.
The county is experiencing its second driest year on record since the late 1800s, according to data from the local water district.
“We have our own unique water challenges, we’ve got a declining aquafer and we need solutions for that,” says Paul Monroe, the Central Iron County Water Conservancy District manager.
This is why the Pine Valley Water Supply Project is in the works. Monroe says this 60-mile pipeline will import water from rural basins northwest of Cedar City, powered by solar panels.
“These are some remote basins and really neat, in that aspect that we’re going to be using fully renewable resources to pump the water and bring it into Cedar Valley,” he says.
Monroe says the Utah Division of Water Rights implemented a Groundwater Management Plan earlier this year that will slowly reduce water rights for the next 60 years.
“The largest water right holder that has the largest impact is Cedar City Corporation and they stand to lose about 80% of their water rights over the life of this plan,” he says.
The Pine Valley Water Supply Project may take another couple of decades to be complete, but Monroe says with Biden’s latest infrastructure bill targeting environmental challenges across the U.S., he’s hoping Cedar City doesn’t go unnoticed.
“With this infrastructure bill that just passed, we’d like to tap into those resources, and get some of those grant moneys that will help us pay for the project and make it more financially feasible for the residents here,” he says.
Monroe is asking residents to participate in a survey, to gather more information on the project. There will also be a public discussion on December 7. For more information, click here.