Water Banking as a Method to Improve Water Management in Utah's Sevier River Basin

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by Wynn R. Walker, Associate Dean; College of Engineering, and Professor, Biological and Irrigation Engineering Utah State University, Logan, Utah, wynnwalk@cc.usu.edu,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: World Environmental and Water Resource Congress 2006: Examining the Confluence of Environmental and Water Concerns

Abstract: The Sevier River Basin in central Utah is one of the state's most critically water-short areas. For nearly a century the users of the Sevier River have relied on multiple water-banking mechanisms to improve their water management practices. Three of the most important water banking mechanisms are carry-over storage credits, temporary storage of direct flow rights, and intra-basin exchanges. This paper demonstrates the impact these three mechanisms have had historically in the Sevier Basin. Carry-over storage accounts for about 30% of annual water deliveries. Direct flow right storage improves these small rights by about 20% in one case and 5% in another. The intra-basin exchanges account for about 17% for one right. Water banking is a viable option for further water management improvements in the Sevier River Basin but the legal and institutional constraints will be difficult to overcome.

Subject Headings: Basins | Water storage | River bank stabilization | Management methods | Water shortage | Rivers and streams | Water rights | Water use | Utah | North America | United States

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