Water districts using extra water to recharge aquifers

Mar 29, 2023, 7:12 PM | Updated: 7:14 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Cities and counties across Utah are taking advantage of the extra water this winter to replenish aquifers.

“Our approach is really we should be saving this extra water for future years,” Dave Decker, Provo’s public works director said. “This is nature’s way of saying: ‘Here’s all this extra, abundant water, you better take advantage of it because it’s going to be needed in the future.’”

Decker said when he saw that this winter was shaping up to be a banner water year, he had water released from upriver reservoirs so that the water could be used to recharge underground supplies through what’s called aquifer storage and recovery.

“In Provo, we’ve been trying to prepare for this exact event and taking advantage and storing the water underground,” he said. “We know exactly where the water’s going and we’re clearly influencing the ground water.”

During the last three years, Provo has been studying groundwater replenishment at five different locations. One of those sites is at Riverview Park, where Provo River water quickly sinks down into the ground through a rock-lined channel.

Cities and counties across Utah are taking advantage of the extra water this winter to replenish aquifers. (KSL TV)

“That tells us that the ground is very thirsty,” Ryan York, Provo’s water sources manager said. “All this water that we’re bringing in is going down through the ground and filling our aquifers and replenishing what’s been pumped out over many, many, many years.”

In southern Utah, the Washington County Water Conservancy District is expecting this year’s extra water to have a big impact on the aquifer underneath Sand Hollow Reservoir.

“It’s been a phenomenal water year in Washington County,” said Brie Thompson, the associate general manager of field operations with the district.

Thompson said the district has been drawing down its reservoirs since 2019. But with the above-average snowpack and wet spring, Sand Hollow should be at 100% of capacity this summer.

“A year like this—when we can keep the reservoir full for longer—will allow more water to go down beneath into the aquifer,” she said. “It really is used as a savings account. When we have these really good years we can put more into that bank.”

In neighboring Iron County, it’s a night-and-day difference from previous years when there wasn’t any excess water to divert to underground storage.

“This will help a lot,” said Paul Monroe, general manager of the Central Iron County Water Conservancy District. “We’re close to 300% above normal in our watershed.”

Monroe said groundwater levels have been dropping for several decades. In an effort to stabilize the aquifer and make it more sustainable, the district has constructed seven recharge basins since 2017.

Since the start of the water year on Oct. 1, 2022, Monroe said they’ve put over 650 million gallons into the aquifer.

KSL 5 TV Live

Good News

Bo Chapman,14, and Kaileigh Saling, 14, were flown to the hospital after a lightning strike shocked...

Garna Mejia

After lightning strikes teen group, one faces monthslong recovery

After a teen group was struck by lightning in Sevier County, all of the children are on the road to recovery.

11 days ago

Rowers from Utah Crew travelled to Sarasota, Florida, to compete in the USRowing Youth National Cha...

Alexander Campbell

Facing adversity, a local youth rowing team places top ten nationally

In a small canal near California Avenue in Salt Lake City, a team of high school rowers has trained for racing at the national level.

22 days ago

Meranda Martin, Brailee Eyre and Caprie McNeill were honored after helping save a man's life. (Amer...

Tamara Vaifanua

Utah teens recognized after helping save man’s life

Two teenagers from Beaver are being called “the heroes team” after they saved the life of their friend's dad.

24 days ago

Community members gathered Monday to celebrate the return of a 9-year-old boy after being hit by a ...

Andrew Adams

Community welcomes home 9-year-old Huntsville boy who was hit by car

A large crowd gathered Monday to welcome home a 9-year-old boy just barely released from the hospital, after a lengthy fight for his survival.

26 days ago

Rescuers pulling the driver of a semitruck out from the rubble after an explosion....

Brittany Tait

Unified police officer rescues driver from burning semi in Little Cottonwood

A heroic officer and bystanders rescued the driver of a semitruck after a fiery rollover crash in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

1 month ago

Bank workers lend helping hand at home of West Valley veteran, nearly 30 others in 'paint-a-thon' (...

Andrew Adams

Bank workers lend helping hand at home of West Valley veteran, nearly 30 others in ‘paint-a-thon’

A veteran’s house was getting a swift makeover Monday as bank workers volunteered their after-hours time on nearly 30 home improvement service projects in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.

1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Water districts using extra water to recharge aquifers