State postpones $2 billion dollar Bear River Project

Posted at 8:07 PM, Jan 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-24 18:18:37-05

SALT LAKE CITY --  A $2 billion water project is unnecessary for now, thanks to conservation efforts, according to the Utah Division of Water Resources.

The Bear River Project was originally approved by the Utah legislature in 1991. It was intended to dam the bear, creating one to three lakes in order to retain 220 thousand acre feet of water for residents of Northern Utah.

"When we originally started on the project it was needed in 2015. That was two years ago," said Todd Adams, deputy director of the Division.

Adams credits new meters that measure secondary water systems in Weber and Davis Counties, and said that new developments replacing agriculture tend to use less water.

Currently, he said the Division anticipates the date that such a project would be necessary will likely be after 2040.

"As we get new population projections, new water goals, new technology happens, potentially it will delay the project even further," said Adams.

Utah Rivers Council's Zach Frankel takes issue with the idea that the project will ever be necessary.

"They have spent at least $23 million on Bear River Development in the last 16 years, but they have only spent $4 million on water conservation,” Frankel said in a written statement.