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Jan 25
Recharging the Aquifer

​CEDAR CITY, UT (January 23, 2017)-Central Iron County Water Conservancy District in conjunction with Cedar City, Iron County, and local property owners recently broke ground on the construction of an aquifer recharge project near Quichapa Lake. This project will divert water that traditionally becomes contaminated and evaporates in the lake and pump it to a recharge area north of Highway 56 near Cedar City's municipal well. The project is located in an area that has seen the largest water level declines as well as known subsidence at the ground surface.

The CICWCD received a $100,000 grant from the local Enterprise and Iron Conservation District which is under the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to help construct the diversion structure. "Artificial aquifer recharge is the practice of sending water into the ground to refill groundwater stored in aquifers. Historically more water has been drawn from the Cedar Valley aquifer than is being replenished and this project will help in reversing that trend," said Shelby Ericksen Public Information Specialist for CICWCD

The recharge project started to gain traction at the beginning of the 2016 when the State Engineer of the Division of Water Rights held a public meeting to address the overdraft issues in the valley and began the implementation of a Groundwater Management Plan. This plan, which will be developed over time, is the process that the State uses to reduce water rights to bring the aquifer back into equilibrium. Artificial aquifer recharge will likely help reduce the cuts of water rights brought about by the Groundwater Management Plan, as well as help restore groundwater levels.

In addition to the Quichipa Recharge Project, CICWCD has also been recharging the Enoch Graben aquifer since late October 2016. The Enoch Graben Recharge project was a combined effort between the Worth Grimshaw Family and Enoch City. Enoch City Manager, Robert Dotson said, "We live in a desert. Clean ground water is always going to be the life source of the community, especially economically. Projects like this help to protect resources that we can only safeguard if we take responsible steps."

"The water only travels a few feet before it is absorbed into the ground," Ericksen said. Water began flowing through the pipe after the irrigators were finished using the water for the season and will continue through the winter months. "We hope to put as much water into the ground as we can to replenish the aquifer," Ericksen said.

Sixty years ago, the Graben area was a large free flowing spring. Today, it is absorbing water like a conduit because water levels in some areas are near 100 feet below the historic levels.

 Billy Grimshaw, a fourth-generation farmer and owner of the land where recharge is taking place, said, "We could be drinking this water in 20 years. The underground reservoir is great for storage without evaporation. The ground also filters the water as it moves down. We are reversing what we have done by putting water back into the underground reservoir instead of just taking it out."

In 2015 the Division of Water Rights approved the District's application to recharge up to 20,000 acre feet of water from Coal Creek. One acre foot of water equals 325,851 gallons or about the same amount of water a family of four consumes in one year.

When asked about the importance of aquifer recharge, Dotson said, "To me, this is a symbol of future cooperative efforts. This is one step towards balancing the aquifer. It takes some desire, a good plan, and people willing to give a little up. Everyone gave a little up, but the potential return on investment is significant."

Similar to the cooperation of Enoch City and the Grimshaw family, the District is encouraged and thankful for the local support and contribution from the local land users, Jones Land and Livestock, Brad Schmutz, Tyree Bulloch, and for Iron County and Cedar City Corporation for supplying the equipment and labor for the project. Questions and more information about the project can be directed to CICWCD at 435-865-9901. 


Jul 01
CICWCD Has an App

NEW APP ENCOURAGES RESIDENTS TO TAKE ACTION AND KNOW MORE ABOUT THEIR WATER HABITS

CEDAR CITY, UT (July 1, 2016)- Central Iron County Water Conservancy District (CICWCD) unveiled their new app today. The app is free to everyone in Iron County. Those with the app can alert the District of water waste and view conservation tips and programs. In addition, the app allows District customers to pay bills, monitor their water usage, submit service requests, directly message the District, and compare their water use to similar homes in the area.

            Paul Monroe, General Manager of CICWCD, said he hopes the new app will encourage customer engagement by making it easy for homeowners to see their water habits. The app is tied to an online customer portal where customers can view the same information by computer as on their mobile devices.

            The CICWCD app is now available in the App Store and the Play Store for both android and apple mobile devices. Search "CICWCD" to find it.  For more information, contact CICWCD at 435-865-9901. ​



Mar 10
CENTRAL IRON COUNTY WATER CONSERVANCY DISTRICT AND UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY EXTENSION TO HOST ANNUAL 4TH GRADE WATER FAIR


CEDAR CITY, UT (March 9, 2016)- The Central Iron County Water Conservancy District is hosting the third annual Fourth Grade Water Fair on March 21st and 22nd at the Cedar City Aquatic Center from 9:30am-2:40pm. The goal of the fair is to teach fourth graders about water and conservation while having fun. One of the fun and memorable stations is one by Mackay Steffensen, a professor at SUU, who does explosions and experiments centered around water. Chad Reid with USU Extension does a water taste test. Students get to sample local water, bottled water, salt water, and “polluted” water (Don’t worry, it is safe! It is water colored to represent pollution). 
The water fair will have a total of nine stations each focusing on an aspect of water. The stations are: Wonders of Water, Bubbleology, Water Rights/Water Cycle, Bugs Don’t Bug Me, Jeopardy-H2Know, Cloud Formation, Enviroscapes, Water World, and Water Conservation. The class that wins Jeopardy will receive a pizza party at a later date. 

 Learning about the water cycle is part of the fourth grade curriculum outlined by the state. The Water Fair will go along with what students are learning in class to further their knowledge of water and conservation.
Large infographics with fun toilet facts will be dropped off at the schools on Monday March 14th (one week before the Water Fair) to get students excited. The infographics will go along with the annual theme, “What’s all the Flush About?”. At the end of the fair, students will be given a handout with toilet tablets attached. When dropped into the toilet tank, color will seep into the toilet bowl if there is a leak, usually due to a faulty flapper.  
For more information or questions, you can reach CICWCD at 435-865-9901 or email Shelby@cicwcd.org.





Mar 10
Water Conservancy employee finds missing Washington state man

A man reported missing in Washington state was found Wednesday west of Cedar City, nearly 1,100 miles from his home, by a Central Iron County Water Conservancy District employee who was out performing routine checks on water tanks.

The 72 year-old man was reported missing by family members in Onalaska, Washington, approximately two weeks ago, said Iron County Sheriff's Lt. Del Schlosser.

“The family reported he was recently diagnosed with medical conditions related to memory loss,” Schlosser said. “They had been tracking him through credit card receipts in northeast Utah and Arizona.”

Tracy Feltner, the Water Conservancy employee who found the man, said he was performing routine checks at a water tank near 4600 West and 4400 North when he spotted a Jeep in the middle of a dirt road at approximately 8 a.m.

“I stopped and couldn’t see anybody that needed assistance so I continued down the road about a mile and there was a man lying in the middle of the road with no shirt or shoes on,” he said. “He was freezing and was possibly lying out there all night so I called 911.”

Feltner had three extra coats in his truck that he used to warm the man up, and an ICSO deputy had a blanket that was also used until an ambulance could make it to the scene.

Schlosser said there is still no clear reason why the man was so far from home, but his family was grateful to have him found.

“We still don’t know why he was out there,” he said. “He didn’t seem to be injured, but the ambulance reported his body temperature to be really low, so he was out there for some time. There were no mechanical problems found with the Jeep – its still a mystery.”

The man was responsive, Feltner said, but could not make conversation.

“He was just moaning a lot,” he said. “It was a sad deal. I am just happy we found him and were able to help the family with some closure. It's always terrible when someone close to you suffers from memory loss.”

Schlosser said the man was taken to Valley View Medical Center (soon to be named Cedar City Hospital).

Follow Haven Scott @HavenWScott. Call him at 435-865-4522.​


Jan 10
Overappropriation of water rights threatens Iron County

CEDAR CITY — Too many appropriated water rights and years of less-than-average snowpacks are among the reasons state officials list for wanting to create a groundwater management plan for restoring the rapidly depleting aquifer that, at current yields, cannot continue to meet water demands in Iron County.

In a recent meeting at Cedar High School, representatives from the Utah Division of Water Rights warned residents the aquifer is feeding more water into the community than is available, resulting in it being overmined.

“So running just a simple math balance equation, if 28,000 (acre feet) is going out and an additional 7,000 (acre feet) is being reduced, that means we’re getting about 20,000 acre feet recharge to that aquifer annually every year,” James Greer, assistant state engineer for Division of Water Rights, said.

Part of the reason for the deficit in the aquifer, Greer said, lays at the feet of state officials who appropriated more water rights in the 1960s than were available in Iron County. However, while state officials said they have overappropriated water rights, not all of those rights are being used.

There are a lot of water rights and we are currently going through and looking at those right now

“We actually have approved ground water rights for something around 76,000 acre-feet of diversion and 50,000 for depletion,” Greer said. These are very rough estimates. There are a lot of water rights and we are currently going through and looking at those right now. It’s hard to come up with some of those estimates because a lot of water rights aren’t clearly defined.”

Lower-than-normal precipitation for two decades has also taken a toll on the aquifer. This year however, precipitation is 125 percent above normal, Paul Monroe, manager for Central Iron County Water Conservancy District, said.

If that trend were to continue, it could make a difference in the overall groundwater management plan, Jones said.

“It definitely will change it. Hydrology changes, like I say and I referred to in the meeting, if we could just have the mid-’80s over and over again — the (re)charge started to show,” he said. “We started to build the groundwater back up and things were looking not too bad in some areas of the valley. But as soon the really wet years went away, it went back. So there may be something, that as part of this plan, that we’ll have to look at the hydrologic cycles and see where we are and maybe we have to do less restriction on those wetter years.”

Several concerned residents in the meeting shared their opinions and questions about the issue at hand with many of them worried about the future.

Iron County resident Brenda Bybee spoke about her fears regarding Cedar City’s master water plan and the negative effect it may have on the water available for the wells in her neighborhood located west of Quitchupah Lake.

We can’t have certain people just sucking all the water out of the lake

“I’d like to know how — who’s going to be responsible? We can’t have certain people just sucking all the water out of the lake,” Bybee told Cedar City News. “You need to see this Cedar City master water plan. Not only are they putting in a number of wells … but the depth they are drilling to — it’s like putting a huge straw in a big deep straw while the little straws around aren’t going to be able to suck out the water that we need.”

Following the meeting, Cedar City Councilman Paul Cozzens said local leaders are aware of the issues with Quitchupah Lake and worked on finding alternatives.

“Quitchupah has a lot of evaporation and that water just goes to waste. The Quitchupah area has such a layer of clay and silt that’s been built over centuries that it can’t allow that water to naturally percolate and recharge the aquifer so we’ve looked at different efforts to do that,” he said.

​​Cozzens pointed to other efforts the city and the Central Iron County Water Conservancy District are pursuing to try to improve the water problems. This includes using the water in Coal Creek to help recharge the aquifer.

“We take some of the coal creek water that is cleaner during the early runoff and … it’s got a lot of silt and different things in it so we can’t really recharge with that because the silt plugs up the recharge basins,” Cozzens said. “So in wintertime when that water is clean, we can take that water and put it right into the aquifer and there’s actually a section by the airport that we do that.”

There have also been efforts by the CICWCD to import new water from the west desert in Wah Wah Valley.

We know we need other sources of water in addition to conservation-recharge

“It (water) is a serious problem and that’s one reason we’re working as a district — as a water district — on the west desert efforts and we’ve been pursuing that for a long time and spent a lot of resources on importing water from those other basins,” Cozzens, who is also a member of the CICWCD board, said. “That’s something we’ve been working on aggressively because we know we need other sources of water in addition to conservation-recharge.”

The state water engineer, Kent Jones, however, said the importation of the water from Wah Wah valley will not make a big difference in the regulation of the current groundwater.

“The plan we will have of existing water and existing annual recharge – I don’t think it’s (new water) going to make much of a difference, but this new water will help solve some of the problems,” he said.

In 2007, the state began working with local residents in the Beryl-Enterprise area to develop a similar groundwater management plan allowed for under Utah Code 73-5-15.

The groundwater had been pumped faster than it could be recharged

The plan was proposed in that area after state officials determinedthe groundwater had been pumped faster than it could be recharged, also called groundwater overmining. The state water engineer adopted the 118-year plan in 2012.

According to the plan, the goal was for the total water depletion to be reduced over time until it matched the safe yield including the elimination of water rights, with the newest water rights eliminated first.

The process to develop a groundwater management plan in Iron County would take a similar amount of time as in the Beryl-Enterprise area, Greer said. By then however, local leaders said they are hopeful they will be well underway to developing the water in the west desert currently tied up in the courts.

Tracy Sullivan - Ed. Note: Cedar City News | CedarCityUtah.com is a counterpart to St. George News | StGeorgeNews.com.

Email: tsullivan@stgnews.com



Jun 21
Water festival makes a splash in Cedar City

By Haven Scott​ St. George Daily Spectrum​

The Central Iron County Water Conservancy District held its first Water Festival at the Main Street Park on Saturday, soaking everyone looking for a way to beat the heat and learn about conservation.

The event had several booths from vendors displaying information for more efficient sprinkler systems, free food for the community, a fire engine hosing down children squealing in delight, numerous water balloon fights, to displays set up to educate children and their parents — everything water related.

Paul Monroe, general manager of CICWCD, said it might sound odd that a company dedicated to conservancy is out hosing down children, but the water used for the event is really not that much.

We went back and crunched the numbers and it takes approximately 36,264 gallons of water to water Main Street Park and give it a half inch of water, which is standard for this time of year,” he said. “Our estimates of the water that will be used for today’s event will be about 6,000 gallons, roughly a sixth of what we would use in one day. It is sunny so some of that will evaporate but the rest is going straight into the lawn so we don’t consider it wasting the water.”

There has been drought in recent years and the CICWCD has installed new smart controllers in Hillcrest, Ridge and Three Peaks Elementary parks, saving 1.2 million gallons of water in just three months, Monroe said.

“Water is life; we are trying to promote conservation,” he said. “The event is an effort to get people to come and look at the resources that are available to them. There is a lot of new technology out there and we needed to have an event to showcase that for homeowners and businesses. We do a similar event for fourth graders in the area – we thought this would be a good event to educate the pubic as well. We are trying to show what these smart controllers can save. The amount of water we are using today is very minimal to what we have saved already.”

Candace Schaible, landscape educator for CICWCD, said residents with sprinklers can contact the district for a free evaluation of their systems to see if they are wasting water.

“We turn your system on and spread out cups to measure how much your system is putting out,” she said. “Then we will detail you a plan on how much you need to water, when and for how long. It just makes life easier on the homeowner. We get a lot of great feedback from those who have had the evaluation because a lot of people are not educated on when and how to water their lawns, or how much a lawn needs to survive without wasting water.”

Susan Leslie with sustainable operations in the Dixie National Forest Service told children about the dangers of polluting natural water resources.

“We are showing the children about water sheds and how to protect them,” she said. “We use a model showing how when it rains and snows it goes up on the mountain first, then comes back down into the streams, lakes and aquifers. And we teach them that is where we get our drinking water, so to pollute those with pesticides or waste is dangerous for us.”


Jun 17
Water district discusses West Desert test wells, processes with BLM Read more: Iron County Today - Water district discusses West Desert test wells processes with BLM

​by Ashley Langston, Reporter​

IRON COUNTY – While the Central Iron County Water Conservancy District is still involved in litigation regarding the 21,525 acre-feet of water rights the state engineer approved in 2014, it is moving forward with federal processes to drill more test wells in Pine Valley.

The valley is northwest of Cedar City next to Wah Wah Valley, and the district was awarded 15,000 acre-feet of water there. While Beaver County is contesting the water right approval, the attorney for the CICWCD believes precedent is in their favor and the district is moving forward to get approval from the Bureau of Land Management to drill test wells.

Representatives from the BLM Cedar City Field Office attended a special meeting of the CICWCD on June 4, and discussed the environmental processes required for the test wells and the project as a whole, as well as potential issues that would need to be mitigated.

They said the biggest concern will probably be sage grouse, although they will also have to look at Utah Prairie Dogs, mule deer and pronghorn habitat, and cultural considerations (meaning an archeologist will need to examine the area).

A National Environmental Policy Act document will need to be prepared before test wells can be drilled, and if cultural and biological surveys are done beforehand, the process could take as few as three months, one of the BLM representatives said.

CICWCD Executive Director Paul Monroe said they are realistically anticipating drilling the test wells in summer 2016, between the NEPA process, winter weather, and possible sage grouse issues.

The BLM representatives said if any of the proposed drilling sites are near sage grouse “leks,” that could hold up the process, at least during February, March and April. They said the protected birds breed in locations called leks, and then the females lay their eggs around that location for about four miles and they cannot be disturbed.

Monroe said the district has data indicating high volumes of good water toward the north end of Pine Valley, but geologists feel they will find good water toward the south end of the valley as well and that would decrease piping costs, so they need to drill test wells to confirm. If they find what they anticipate, they will just drill bigger wells next to the test wells in the future, and the test wells will become monitoring wells.

A BLM representative at the meeting said the agency has certain resources it has to consider, and examine how the district’s actions will affect those resources. It has to identify those impacts to make the public aware and determine what stipulations will be put into place.

“There shouldn’t really be a lot of big surprises,” she added.

Those present on behalf of the BLM included Elizabeth Burghard, Cedar City Field Office manager; Gina Ginouves, BLM planning and NEPA specialist; Michelle Campeau, BLM realty specialist; and Brooklynn Shotwell, a BLM land law examiner intern.

Monroe said he felt the BLM representatives were very supportive and they are a great agency to work with. Those in the Cedar City Field Office have a “can-do attitude,” he added.

While the primary focus is on the West Desert, the district is also continuing work on other projects, including the aquifer recharge project that would capture excess spring runoff or rainwater and filter it into the aquifer instead of allowing it to evaporate in Quichapa Lake and Rush Lake.

CICWCD Board Chair Brent Hunter said in the meeting that so much rain had fallen in recent weeks, and it was really a shame that so much of it was not able to be used or put into the aquifer. He said he believes that some years that project would save the valley 10,000 to 20,000 acre feet of water.

“That’s by far the cheapest way to save water is that Coal Creek recharge,” he said.

Monroe said the district is still working with the Utah National Guard and getting the proper permits from the state to make the project happen. It is anticipated in summer 2017.

Read more:Iron County Today - Water district discusses West Desert test wells processes with BLM

Jun 08
Water Conservancy District, Southwest Plumbing partner for Water Festival Read more: Iron County Today - Water Conservancy District Southwest Plumbing partner for Water Festival

CEDAR CITY – The Central Iron County Water Conservancy District and Southwest Plumbing Supply invite the community to the first annual Water Festival to be held at Main Street Park on June 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This festival will help promote water conservation throughout Iron County and will showcase water efficient home products, irrigation and landscape equipment, consulting and professional services, and other technologies.

Local businesses will be on hand to host booths, provide services and sell product, which include rainwater harvesting for irrigation, irrigation controllers that can be operated from your smartphone, drought tolerant plants, turf, and many other water-saving concepts and devices.

Even with the 3-plus inches of rain Iron County received during the month of May, the area is still dealing with several years of below-average precipitation. The goal of this event is to educate community members by giving them the information and resources available that will help make conserving water easier and a habitual part of our lives.

The festival will include free hot dogs, food trucks, bounce houses and water friendly activities for the kids. The festival is a member of Cedar City Unplugged and will host a water balloon fight to earn the “Water Warrior” brag badge. There will be 10,000 water balloons and the brag badge can be picked up at the CICWCD booth.

Other activities include a dunk tank, slip n’ slide and water sprayed from the Cedar City fire truck. The total water to be used in all activities will be less than 6,000 gallons. The festival activities will use less than 1/6 of the water needed to irrigate the park in just one night. The approximate water needed to irrigate the Main Street Park in one night is 36,264 gallons.

Come join in the events. Bring your family and have fun learning how you can do your part to help conserve this precious natural resource. Everyone big, small, short, tall, old or young can play a big part in ensuring water for our future. Organizers would also like to thank local business sponsors for their support in making this event possible for our community.

For information, visit www.cicwcd.org/water-festival or call CICWCD at (435) 865-9901.

Read more:Iron County Today - Water Conservancy District Southwest Plumbing partner for Water Festival

May 24
CICWCD to hold first Water Festival

​By Haven Scott St. George Daily Spectrum

The Central Iron County Water Conservancy District is partnering with local businesses to promote water conservation at its first Water Festival on June 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Main Street Park.

Paul Monroe, general manager at CICWCD, said the event is to promote the need to conserve water, but in a fun way that attracts kids and families.

“The festival will showcase new technologies for landscaping and watering applications, and things like harvesting rainwater for garden use,” he said. “But we will have a fire truck there spraying water for the kids, a dunk tank, games and bounce houses, as well as free hamburgers and hotdogs.”

The CICWCD has held a similar festival for local fourth graders and decided to expand that to the public and businesses in Cedar City, Monroe said.

“We have been going through a drought these last four years and we thought this would be a time to get the community involved,” he said. “With the technology out there we just thought there has to be a better way to get the community involved.”

Candace Schaible, a CICWCD employee helping with the event, said there are newer versions of smart controllers available for homeowners to prevent over watering.

“They even have controllers that run from your phone,” she said. “So if you are not at home and it starts raining you can shut off your sprinklers from your phone.”

Monroe said even though they are using water to make the event fun, with the firetruck, water balloons and dunk tank, they are still looking to promote conservancy.

“The amount of water used will be equal to that used in one park in one day,” he said. “With the hopes that people can see the need to conserve water in these drought years.”

Follow Haven Scott @HavenWScott. Call him at 435-865-4522


Mar 18
Water Fair educates fourth grade students about water conservation Read more: Iron County Today - Water Fair educates fourth grade students about water conservation

By Corey Baumgartner, Reporter​ Iron County Today​

CEDAR CITY – Just under 800 Iron County fourth graders flowed through the Cedar City Aquatic center March 9-10 for the second annual Water Fair, sponsored by the Central Iron County Water Conservancy District.

Throughout the day, classrooms and learning stations were set up and volunteers from around the state, including Utah State University and the Dixie National Forest, taught the students about the journey of the water cycle, pollution, clouds, dams, leaky faucets and toilets and ways to use water more wisely.

Because the water cycle and water conservancy is part of the fourth grade curriculum, the water fair fits perfectly into the students’ learning.

“We do this fun and educational event to complement their classroom curriculum,” Candace Schaible, of CICWCD and USU Extension, said.

Rick Webster, a Cedar City native who now works for the Utah Division of Water as its education specialist, travels all over the country teaching kids about water education.

“It’s fun to see their excitement and try to get them to change the world,” Webster said. “Water conservation comes down to you choosing to be more efficient.” He also challenged the students to “pick at least one thing at home that you can fix, or be better at.”

Each learning station provided a different conversation about conservation, and at one of the more interactive stations, Marcia Gilles and Holly Hadley, from the Dixie National Forest Service, set up a three-dimensional enviroscape to demonstrate the dangers of pouring chemicals, or oils down the drain, or toilet, and what happened when fertilizers, or animal manure seep down into the water supply. Several students with spray bottles simulated a rainstorm and watched how water sources can become polluted if not protected.

Nicki Frey, a wildlife biologist, demonstrated that if all the water in the world could fit into two 5-gallon buckets, three cups would be polluted, one cup would be frozen fresh water, and to the students’ surprise, only about nine drops would be available for drinking. She also made sure to remind the students the importance of protecting that precious percentage of water.

“We can’t create more water, but we can pollute it and ruin it for drinking,” she said, giving an example of how only one gallon of motor oil seeping through the ground can contaminate one million gallons of water.

The students also enjoyed participating in the game show, “Water Jeopardy,” where classes were quizzed on their knowledge of water. Some of the questions asked students about the number of inches of snow required to make one inch of water, the source of energy that drives the water cycle, and how much water can a dripping faucet waste per day. The correct answers were 12 inches, the sun, and 4 gallons, respectively.

The winning class received a pizza party and this year two classes, LeAnn Roberts’ class from Three Peaks Elementary and Suzie Palladino’s class from North Elementary, tied for the prize.

Read more:Iron County Today - Water Fair educates fourth grade students about water conservation

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