SALT LAKE CITY (Sept. 29, 2021) – The Utah Division of Water Resources is seeking public input on the new Water Resources Plan. This plan is the result of years of data gathering, modeling and other collaborative efforts to identify when and where water will be needed throughout the state. The comment period runs Sept. 29-Nov. 15, with a virtual open house scheduled for Oct. 20.
“A safe, reliable water supply is critical to Utah’s prosperity and quality of life. This plan provides a comprehensive look at Utah’s current water use and supply conditions and future demand scenarios,” said Candice Hasenyager, director of the Division of Water Resources. “It’s a long-range planning document and not a ‘drought response plan’ to address the current extreme drought.“
The plan focuses on three water management principles:
- Reliable data is needed to make informed water management decisions.
- Supply security requires a comprehensive approach.
- Healthy watersheds are necessary to ensure the viability of the state’s precious water resources.
It also prioritizes actions the Division of Water Resources will undertake in the coming years.
“In the past, statewide water plans have been more of a status update,” said Rachel Shilton, the division’s river basin planning manager. “This plan focuses on goals the division will strive to accomplish by 2026 and was shaped by input from the State Water Plan Advisory Committee, a diverse group of experts and stakeholders.”
Because water management is complicated and involves the coordination of several state agencies as well as local suppliers, a collaborative effort is also underway to produce a more holistic “State Water Plan” rather than this division-specific Water Resources Plan. Contributing agencies include the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, Department of Agriculture and Food, Department of Environmental Quality (divisions of Drinking Water and Water Quality), and Department of Natural Resources (divisions of Water Resources, Water Rights, Wildlife and Forestry, Fire and State Lands). This coordinated action plan will include a comprehensive implementation strategy as the state continues to plan for rapid growth, climate change and sound management of an uncertain natural resource.
“We look forward to the public comment process, which will help us improve our water planning processes,“ said Hasenyager. “We look to science and data and continued collaboration as we prepare for the future.”
View the plan and submit public comment Sept. 29 through Nov. 15 on the division’s webpage.
Kim Wells – Public Information Officer
Utah Department of Natural Resources