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

(Washington County Sheriff's Office)...

Eliza Pace

Couple rescued by search and rescue donate GoFundMe money back to the organization

A couple who was helped by Washington County Sheriff's Search and Rescue, are paying it forward.

6 days ago

For Souleymane Sana, a New Bern resident and native of Mali, Africa, a $100,000 scratch-off win wil...

Lauren Mascarenhas

North Carolina man plans to use his $100,000 lottery prize to build classrooms in Mali

A North Carolina man is planning to use his $100,000 lottery prize to help build classrooms for children in his hometown in Mali.

8 days ago

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Madison Swenson

Woman receives Life Saving Award for rescuing BASE jumper in Moab

A woman was presented with a Life Saving Award for her efforts in helping rescue a BASE jumper who crashed into a cliff in Moab late last year.

15 days ago

Flora and Herbert Franco. (Courtesy: Franco Family)...

Katija Stjepovic and Michael Houck

Orem couple celebrates 72th anniversary

An Orem couple celebrated a big anniversary, not their 10th, 30th, or even 50th anniversary, but over 70 years of marriage.

15 days ago

The five abandoned puppies found by the Tooele City Animal Shelter. (The Tooele City Animal Shelter...

Michael Houck

Abandoned puppies rescued from Tooele road, golf course

A bunch of good boys and girls were rescued and are available for adoption at the Tooele City Animal Shelter.

15 days ago


Ladd Egan

Stamp Out Hunger food drive comes at a critical time for Utah families in need

Food pantries across Utah will be able to help more families needing assistance thanks to all the food collected by postal carriers on Saturday.

17 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Asian little girl playing arcade game on the computer machines at the shopping mall outlets...

Get Out Pass

Family Fun Activities in Utah You Have to Try This Summer

These family fun activities will entertain you all summer, so if you ever feel stuck in a rut wondering what to do, refer to this guide!

Woman IT specialist in elegant suit working on notebook computer in data center next to server rack...

Les Olson

Your Complete Guide to Outsourcing IT Services

This guide covers everything you need to know about the different benefits of outsourcing IT services to meet your small business needs.

diverse group of friends dance outside under string lights...

Lighting Design

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor Lighting

Read for the most frequently asked questions about outdoor lighting to help narrow the search for your home.

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...

BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.

Close up of an offset printing machine during production...

Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.

Water districts using extra water to recharge aquifers