Joint Resolution Regarding Action on Groundwater in Snake Valley
Our Position: support
First Substitute HJR 1 asks Governor Huntsman to hold off on any agreement with Nevada over division of the Carbonate Aquifer before scientific studies are completed. It also requests him to include a resident of Snake Valley in the negotiations with Nevada.
Bill Number: hjr1s1
Sponsor: Rep Richard Wheeler (R-Ephraim)
Legislative Session: 2007 General Session
Senator Dennis Stowell (R-Parowan) offered a substitute version of this resolution that enumerates the steps of the scientific study to be undertaken before decisions can be made; encourages Governor Huntsman to include a resident from the Snake Valley in the negotiations with Nevada and allow comment from that resident on a preliminary draft agreement; and specifies a number of criteria by which any groundwater development project should be evaluated.
One seldom sees a positive measure improved on environmental grounds in the Utah Legislature so enjoy it while you can. The substitute resolution urges the governor to assess the "impacts to indigenous flora and fauna" of any groundwater development project. One can only hope this is an augury of future solicitude for biodiversity.
The full house passed this resolution by a vote of 73-0-2. Feel free to call your representative to thank her/him for this vote. To find out who your representative is, check out the district maps.
A strengthened substitute resolution was passed out of the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee on Tues, Jan 30th. Members of the committee are listed below. Call your senator, especially if she/he is on the committee to say thank you. The substituted resolution passed the senate on its third reading on February 8th on a vote of 27-0-2.
Sen. Darin G. Peterson, Chair
Sen. Allen M. Christensen
Sen. Gene Davis
Sen. Margaret Dayton
Sen. Fred J. Fife
Sen. Dennis E. Stowell
Sen. Michael G. Waddoups
Review the language of the resolution.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) has proposed groundwater pumping from three eastern Nevada counties to supply the endless demand of Las Vegas. Of the more than 200,000 acre feet that SNWA wants to get its hands on, a substantial portion would come from the Carbonate Aquifer beneath the Snake Valley.
This aquifer extends beneath western Utah and creates springs and wetlands in the Snake Valley as well as the magnificent wetlands complex protected by Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge.
There is evidence that even without SNWA tapping into the aquifer, the water table is already falling. Lying as it does on the border of the two most arid states in the union, this aquifer is fossil groundwater--a remnant of a time when rainfall and groundwater recharge were much more abundant. To tap into this aquifer before we have solid scientific support for the level of pumping SNWA wants to do would be very foolish and hasty.