Provide Uintah Basin water users with new ways to conserve and improve delivery of water; provide irrigators and water rights holders monetization opportunities for underutilized water; and facilitate more effective cooperation among water districts, municipalities and individual water users.
The Ashley Valley Drainage plays a pivotal role in water management for Vernal City and its surrounding communities. This crucial drainage system, integrating natural watercourses and engineered channels, provides water flow and storage for nearly 35,000 residents, businesses and public entities. The semi-arid climate and unique topography of the Uintah Basin necessitate a comprehensive water management strategy with the Ashley Valley Drainage at its core.
Groundwater storage in Ashley Valley is estimated to be between 50,000 and 75,000 acre-feet, providing a vital water reserve for the area. The main water sources fueling this system include Ashley Creek, crucial for irrigation and groundwater recharge; Ashley Springs, used for both irrigation and treatment by the Ashley Valley Water and Sewer Improvement District; and Red Fleet Reservoir, a key source for producing drinking water at the Ashley Valley Water Treatment Plant.
Additional water sources such as canal and water storage along the valley’s north and west side include Steinaker Reservoir, Fort Thornburgh Diversion, Steinaker Feeder Canal and Steinaker Service Canal. The Ashley Valley Water Treatment Plant, located on Doc’s Bench Hill north of Vernal, is a major regional facility with the capacity to to treat 20 million gallons of water per day.
The founding members of the First Water Bank of Utah (FWBU) are the Ashley Valley Water & Sewer Improvement District and Vernal City. FWBU a statutory water bank, and so is governed by a board of directors and will develop and adopt bylaws, policies and procedures to ensure that transactions by the bank are conducted in a transparent, fair and consistent manner. To facilitate the administration of the bank and Sale and lease transactions within the bank service area, FWBU partnered with Utah-based technology company, WETx to implement a first-of-its-kind water banking platform. FWBU will operate as a digital-first organization.
The First Water Bank of Utah was approved by the Board of Water Resources on October 5, 2023.