The future of Cache Valley's water management
As winter storms continue, many Utahns wonder how the snow will affect this year's water. The Cache Water District is preparing now.
Nathan Daugs is the manager of the Cache Water District. He said, at least in the short term, Cache Valley’s water outlook is good.
“Short term, we're in good shape, because we're because we have good snowpack and the ground is saturated. So we should have good runoff this year," Daugs said.
But, he added, Cache Valley has room to improve in long-term water management. “Long term the hard part with our systems is we have no backup, right? We have no storage for water for those lean years if the snowpack is not there.”
There are many reservoirs around the state that store water long-term, but Daugs said more small-scale projects would give them more options to keep rivers flowing.
“Some small reservoirs on different tributaries would be good for our long-term water security," Daugs noted. "It gives us options to use that water different times of the year, which is critical for both water use for agriculture in cities, but also for the environment.”
Daugs said small-scale projects would provide more than just environmental benefits to Cache Valley.
“Take the Blacksmith Fork River, it goes dry pretty much every year, no matter what. Even a small reservoir somewhere up higher in the headwaters of that river could keep that flowing year round, and provide other benefits too, it can provide great economic benefits," he explained.
As Utah’s snowpack totals this year are at 150% of average across most of the state, the water outlook is good, but whether we have any left at the end of the summer depends on how well we can manage our water use.