St. George continues to grow as water officials try to keep pace

ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – The Washington County Water Conservancy District is completing several projects to keep pace with its growth.

“Some projects we kind of assumed we wouldn’t need for a while, like some water tanks specifically and the water treatment plant expansion, but due to the With growth underway, we need to accelerate the rate at which we bring these projects now, ”said Zachary Renstrom, general manager of the Washington County Water Conservancy District.

Currently, the county’s only water supply is the Virgin River, and as of June, water levels were the lowest on record.

“In mid-July there was a change and we had these wonderful monsoon rains so we got twice as much monsoon rain than average and it had a significant impact on the Virgin River”, explains Renstrom.

That’s why Renstrom says it needs the Lake Powell pipeline, which is under environmental review.

“This gives us a more reliable water supply system and it will ensure that we have the water we need as our community and our economy grows,” he says.

But Lake Powell’s water levels are 50 feet lower than last year. Renstrom says that despite the drop in levels, the state is entitled to a water budget, designated to help the county.

“Utah is going to use that budget and if we don’t use it on the Lake Powell pipeline then we’re going to use it somewhere in the state, we’re actually going to run more models to see the extremes on that. what could possibly happen, ”he said.

This year alone, a total of 1,167 building permits were issued in St. George. In Washington, 928 building permits were issued in the past 12 months, the highest number in the city’s history, according to city officials. On average, it takes about 300,000 gallons of water to build a house.

“I have met with the majority of the county town councils and they have all been very positive about adopting best practices or amending their existing landscape ordinances to embrace these new ideas about water,” says Renstrom.

Renstrom says there is currently enough water to keep up with the growth, as long as they keep adding water projects like reservoirs and water reservoirs.

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