Washington Co. farmers say additional water infrastructure needed after record drought

Southern Utah News

HURRICANE, Utah (ABC4) – Kelby Iverson of Western Legacy Farm & Ranch is feeling hopeful as steady rainfall is finally soaking into soil that hasn’t seen moisture in the last three years.

“We need to have a good winter, a good snowpack, and a really good spring,” he says.

Iverson says extremely dry conditions cycle every one hundred years, so many agriculture producers haven’t dealt with a drought like this in their lifetime.

“A lot of ranchers a lot of producers have sold off a lot of fields and stuff stayed dry, if things look hopeful in the spring, we are hopefully are smart enough as producers,  not to run faster than we can walk, but we can slowly as the rains keep coming build up the numbers of our cattle, our livestock and hopefully be able to water more acres and more ground,” he says.

Iverson, along with other producers in Southern Utah, relies on the Virgin River, Washington County’s primary and only source for water. That river’s seen record low water levels this year, according to Washington County Water Conservancy District leaders.

“The last couple of years, if we didn’t have those agreements with the water district, we’d be out of water in July or August but actually we’ve been able to keep watering our crops all throughout this drought,” says Iverson.

This is why Iverson says Washington County needs more water projects, specifically agricultural infrastructure geared to keep up with the growth, to support local farmers.

“Just like we invest in highway infrastructure, and transportation and water and all of that, it’s that important, we believe, it’s what we all depend on, is our food,” says Iverson.

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