Last week an amendment that secures $15 Million dollars for the Central Utah Project, Utah’s largest and most comprehensive water resource development program, passed through Congress, led by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah).
The amendment was included in the final version of the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act and nearly doubles the previous appropriation. It will now head to the President to be signed into law.
“This is great news for Utah,” Stewart said. “With an increase of nearly 50% over last year’s funding, the Central Utah Project will now be able to move forward towards completion and continue to serve the people of Utah for decades to come.”
The Central Utah Project (CUP) captures a large portion of Utah’s share of Colorado River water from the Uinta Basin and moves it through several reservoirs to eight counties along the Wasatch Front and Central Utah. Each year, the CUP system delivers more than 350,000 acre feet of water (equivalent to filling the Utah State Capitol with water 167 times) that is critical for the explosive growth Utah has seen and will continue to see over the next several decades.
“Many Utahns don’t realize that the water coming out of their tap has traveled hundreds of miles to get there as part of the Central Utah Project,” said Gene Shawcroft, General Manager for the Central Utah Water Conservancy District. “with these additional funds, we will be able to continue our work to ensure adequate water supply for our booming population.”
CUP started in partnership with the federal government in 1956 to meet Utah’s long-term water needs. The federal government is contractually obligated to fund a portion of the construction that will all be repaid by water users. However, years of inadequate federal funding forced Central Utah Water Conservancy District to tap its own resources to keep the project moving, and with only one last pipeline left to build to complete the project, the previous Administration cut construction funding down to zero. Since 2012, the Utah delegation has united to fight these cuts and has restored construction funding incrementally.
“The District is grateful to Congressman Stewart for his direct efforts to increase federal funding for construction of the Central Utah Project,” said Gene Shawcroft, General Manager of the Central Utah Water Conservancy District. “The project is in its final years of construction and the timely completion of the project is vital to the future water supply for Utah residents.”