Additional instream flows are needed to improve habitat and aesthetics, decrease nutrient concentrations and decrease stream temperature.
Various stakeholders, including environmental NGOs, a municipal sewer district and local municipalities, wanted to use water banking to improve instream flows in East Canyon Creek during critical low flows in late summer.
The Snyderville Basin is a valley in Summit County, Utah, adjacent to Park City and the eastern margin of the Wasatch Range. Snowmelt from the Wasatch Range and precipitation are the region’s primary water sources. Rapid residential and commercial development are increasing demands on the area’s ground-water resources, and increased ground-water withdrawals could affect appropriated surface-water resources.
Initially, this pilot project intended to establish a Water Bank to facilitate instream flows for fish and water quality in East Canyon Creek during critical low flows in late summer. Interested Stakeholders included: Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter, the Audubon Society, Mountain Regional Special Service District, Trout Unlimited, Snyderville Reclamation District, and Park City Municipal Corporation.
Party discussions led to two distinct issues: 1) water supply and technical questions about whether there was enough information to understand the needed steam flows to ensure the Statutory Water Bank was meeting its goals; and 2) forming a Water Bank.
Regarding the technical questions, the group explored several water sources as potential depositors into the bank: surplus import water from Park City, private rights and a possible future Spring Creek water treatment plant and pump project, and more extensive conservation measures. However, the group found securing any water sources difficult without installing additional telemetry to ensure the leased water was actually increasing instream flows. In response, the parties worked with the State Engineer to fund six new telemetry sites along East Canyon Creek: Quarry Mountain, JH Bailey, West Grade, Osguthorpe, Ranch Creek 3, and Glenwild. With this information, local stakeholders can measure East Canyon Creek flows with the accuracy level necessary to facilitate water leasing for instream flows.
In terms of building a Water Bank, the parties identified three categories of activities that would need to occur: those required by the Water Banking Act, tasks implicit to a successful water transaction but not required by the statute, and tasks that are helpful but not necessary to facilitate a water transaction. The parties then assessed whether they had the expertise to complete the identified tasks, how many hours it would take, and their individual investment level in the process. Though each stakeholder wanted to participate and support a Water Bank, no stakeholders had the resources or investment to spearhead the process. Ultimately, the parties decided not to commit to developing a Water Bank.
The Snyderville Pilot Project was successful in two parts. First, installing telemetry equipment will give the parties the raw data necessary to test instream flow conditions and seek sources of supply. Second, the project determined the requirements for developing a water bank. For now, the local stakeholders will use the new telemetry stations and explore private leasing activities under Utah’s new instream flow statute.
- Weber Basin Water Conservancy District
- Swaner Preserve & EcoCenter
- Audubon Society
- Mountain Regional Special Service District
- Trout Unlimited
- Park City Municipal Corporation
As part of the water banking pilot project activities the Division of Water Resources funded six new telemetry sites along East Canyon Creek to monitor real time stream flows. With this information local stakeholders will for the first time be able to measure flows in East Canyon Creek to an accuracy needed to facilitate a water lease for instream flows.