Cedar City Finalizes First Purchase Of “Old” Water Rights
Mayor Garth O Green has signed one of the two water purchases approved by the City Council. The council gave a majority approval for two water purchases on September 13th of this year. The agreement to purchase one of the “old” water rights was signed in the middle of October and was announced at the City Council meeting on October 18th.
Concerns about water here in the Cedar Valley are growing because of the Utah State Water Management Plan. Some are worried that the state plan will have a negative impact on Cedar City residents and our future water supply.
In a video released to the media, Green shared how critical it was for this purchase to be finalized.
“There are approximately 51,000 acre-feet of water rights issued in our basin by the state, however, our safe yield as determined by the state is only 21,000 acre-feet of water rights,” Green said in the video. He continued, “The State's Water Management Plan establishes cut off dates for the newer water. Prior to this purchase and other purchases, we only had 2,000 acre-feet of water rights with old dates within that 21,000 safe yield number.”
With Cedar City approaching a population of 40,000, city officials felt there was a crucial need to explore options to expand the water supply for the city.
Adding some 2,400 acre-feet in old water rights in the last twenty months was made possible by the water rate increase that was imposed recently, but with no additional water rate increases. $18.1 million was burrowed for the purchase and $7 million was funded through a combination of Cedar City's Water Enterprise fund and the General fund.
The city is now considered to be in a better place to support current residents with the purchase of 942 acre-feet of water from Basin 73. In addition, the purchase from Escalante Basin 71 is expected to be completed soon.
“I never dreamed there would be an opportunity to purchase the old water that we needed in the valley,” Mayor Green said. He concluded, “this is, perhaps, the biggest single transaction in the last decade. We still encourage conservation and mindful use for our Cedar Valley Community.”
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Gallery Credit: Stacker