Ivins residents are concerned about location of planned water reservoir

Apr 25, 2024, 4:31 PM | Updated: 6:57 pm

IVINS, Washington County — Water officials are planning to build new reservoirs in southern Utah to combat unexpected droughts. However, some Ivins residents do not like the location where one is scheduled.

Washington County Water Conservancy District plans to build the new reservoir on a few hundred acres in the Dry Wash area. But Ivins resident Terry Marten says the area should be preserved.

“I think the canyon is beautiful and I would like to keep it that way,” He said.

Marten organizes group hikes in the area and wants others to see what the Dry Wash offers.

“I think people do not understand the magnitude of this endeavor one way or the other by looking at a piece of paper,” Marten said. “If they walk the canyon, they will have a better idea.”

A group of hikers on a trail in the Dry Wash area.

A group of hikers on a trail in the Dry Wash area. (KSL TV)

It’s not quite the open space park Marten had in mind here if he were able to purchase the land as he had planned.

“My intention has been to do this for a long time, and I was making plans to purchase the land for an open space park,” he said. “But then the Washington County Water Conservancy District felt like they needed to use this site for a reservoir. We need to decide and we need to find what the best thing for the city is.”

However, the Washington County Water Conservancy District says reliable water is best for Ivins.

“We have to have this reservoir out there because, with the growth out there, this is how we’re going to get water to these people,” said Zachary Renstrom, general manager of the Washington County Water Conservancy District.

It is no secret Washington County’s population has exploded in recent years with homes, businesses, and resorts, especially in Ivins.

The Water District said building new reservoirs is how everyone gets water, and Dry Wash is a perfect location.

“It has gone through the environmental review process. This site was selected because it had the least amount of environmental concern and it would also make sure that we have the drinking water and secondary water we need for our growing community down in this area,” Renstrom said.

A drone view of the Dry Wash area. (KSL TV)

Marten said he is concerned about the water quality at the Dry Wash location. But Renstrom said the water that would fill Dry Wash Reservoir is the same water from the same sources other county reservoirs have.

“It is water we are utilizing in this community for years and years. Almost decades now. This is water the EPA has studied extensively and has come up with requirements and procedures we have to follow to make it safe,” Renstrom said.

Still, Marten wishes the district would take another look at other sites and leave Dry Wash in its natural state.

“I have obviously been opposed to it and I have said that all along,” Marten said. “We would like to see it preserved as open space.”

Renstrom said the reservoir can be built with recreation in mind for trails, boating, or a nature preserve. Construction can still be two to six years away, depending on when the reservoir is needed.

“We don’t build anything unless there is a need,” Renstrom said.

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Ivins residents are concerned about location of planned water reservoir