As a relatively water-rich portion of Utah, Cache County is a planned future resource for municipal and agricultural water for Davis, Weber and Salt Lake counties. However, recent improvements in water conservation and education have reduced water use across the state.
As a result, the Utah State Bureau of Water Resources has postponed the estimated $2 billion Bear River Development. The deputy director of the bureau Todd Adams attended Thursday’s meeting to answer questions about the development.
“The Bear River development has been pushed back from 2030 or 2035, what we thought before, to the 2040, 2050, 2060 timeframe, and the reason that’s happened is because people are conserving," he said. "We have potential for major conservation with secondary water metering, ag[riculture] conversion, and those things.”
Though plans for the Bear River Development project have been delayed, population growth in the valley necessitates plans for future water development in Cache County. One large concern is water storage.
“As climate changes and we get less snow and more precipitation," Adams said, "you have less storage in your snowpack in the mountains and you move to more of a precipitate component, you probably will need something to store that water or it just races down the river system and you can’t control it.”
Over 50 potential sites have been investigated for installation of a water reservoir since the conception of the project, in that time the list has been shortened to seven sites. When one site is eventually chosen, environmental impact studies and public hearings will begin.