WHITNEY A. SMIT
The Diamond Fork hot pots, one of Utah County’s most frequented natural wonders, has become the subject of a controversial damming project that will suppress portions of the Diamond Fork River and the Bear River just east of Springville.
The damming, tentatively set to begin next summer, will create a supplemental water source for residents of Juab County in order to ensure the success of the county’s alfalfa crops.
The estimated cost of the damming will approach the $500 million mark, said Kevin Innes, a junior from Provo, majoring in conservation biology.
The dam will deliver water to less than one percent of the state’s population while flooding the hot springs and causing other irreparable ecological damage, Innes said.
But those living in rural and agricultural areas of Juab county are enthusiastic about the possibility of more water coming into their community.
“More water would be a wonderful thing,” said Earl Jarrett, a farmer from Nephi. “I believe I could produce a ton to the acre more with supplemental water.”
According to the Diamond Fork Alliance, a local group protesting the proposed dam, Salt Lake County’s demand for water will increase 275 times more than that of Juab County during the next 40 years.
To prevent the damming, taxpayers in Salt Lake County, backed by county commissioner Randy Horiuchi, have proposed an alternative plan that would bring the water to Salt Lake. There would be no dam, but a $100 million pipeline project would begin at the Spanish Fork River.
Those interested in expressing the opinions concerning both proposals are encouraged to contact the Central Utah Water District in Orem.