Will population growth drain Utah’s water?

Local News

New census data shows Utah is growing at one of the fastest rates in the nation.

According to the data, Utah ranks third in population growth behind Idaho and Nevada. The Beehive state saw a 1.9 percent increase in population over the last year.

With all of that growth, is there enough water to support population and economic for the next 50 years?

Richard Bay is general manager of Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District. He collaborates with other large water districts and with the state to prepare statewide water plans. 

“We all know that there’s no new water in Utah.  Currently, there is a surplus of about 300,000 acre-feet per year, statewide, in municipal and industrial (M&I) water supply over demand.  But even with our water conservation efforts, there will be a deficit of 370,000 acre-feet per year by 2060,” Bay said.

He says Utah will need to develop more water supplies, but there will be enough water to satisfy the demands of our population in 50 years.

They’ve recently released a Statewide Water Infrastructure Plan through 2060. Click here to view it.

“We will need to develop Utah’s allocation of two important interstate river systems:  the Bear River Development Project in the north, and the Colorado River via the Lake Powell Pipeline Project in the south,” Bay explained. “Here in Salt Lake Valley, we are ready to start importing Colorado River water stored in Strawberry Reservoir.”

Bay said in order to be more waterwise, Utahns will have to change their outdoor water use. 

“The large water districts have developed an exciting new landscape concept known as ‘Localscape’,” he said. “It provides more beauty, functionality and efficiency than the normal Utah landscape…Since the ‘Localscape’ is designed for the irrigation system, instead of the reverse, this landscape uses only a third of the water used by a traditional Utah landscape. Since this is a byproduct of the landscape, instead of the focus, Utahns love the final product, with more curb appeal and beauty.”

Homeowners and business owners can find rebates, water conservation programs, grants and incentives at UtahWaterSavers.com.

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