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A significant component of the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program is under construction near the communities of Huntington, Cleveland and Elmo in central Utah. This project, known as the Huntington-Cleveland Salinity Control Project (HCSCP), is part of the larger Price-San Rafael Rivers Unit of the Colorado River Salinity Control Program authorized in 1994 as a collaboration between the Bureau of Reclamation, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, the seven Colorado River Basin states and local entities.
Ultimately, the HCSCP will provide annual control of approximately 60,000 tons of salt by improving irrigation system delivery and application on about 20,000 acres of crop and hayland. The federal and local costs are estimated to be about $65 million.
In Utah, the second driest state in the United States, application of supplemental water (irrigation) is essential for dependable crop, hay and pasture production in areas receiving less than 12 inches of precipitation. Since the beginning of settlement by immigrants, communities have organized and cooperated to construct water storage, distribution and application systems to allow agriculture to flourish.
Within the drainages of the Price and San Rafael Rivers in central Utah, the Huntington – Cleveland Irrigation Company, comprised of three main delivery canals (the North Ditch Canal, the Cleveland Canal, and the Huntington Canal), has undertaken to improve the delivery, conservation and use of water by constructing a 21st century system that will serve the needs of its clients for the foreseeable future.
The company is constructing a fully-enclosed delivery system that will provide a dependable and manageable source of high quality water to sustain agricultural and energy production, maintain natural resources, and allow for continued development of the local communities and economy.
In addition to the many benefits locally, the system will greatly reduce the mobilization and transport of dissolved solids (salts) that result from ditch seepage and deep percolation from fields. These salts, estimated to be several tens of thousands of tons annually, will no longer be transported to the Colorado River where significant damages accumulate and impact users of the water in the Lower Colorado River Basin.
Under the Colorado River Water Quality Improvement Program, a number of Salinity Control Projects have been funded in the Uinta Basin and in Price and San Rafael River Basins. The Salinity Forum, which includes the state of Utah, has requested that monitoring be established to verify the effectiveness of the Salinity Program.
The area that has been selected for intense monitoring is the Desert Lake Waterfowl Management Area and surrounding area that receives irrigation return flow from irrigated farm lands in the Huntington-Cleveland-Elmo area, which receive water from the Huntington & Cleveland Irrigation Company.
Reclamation is working closely with the Emery Water Conservancy District (Emery WCD) in conducting this study. Real-time monitoring stations have been established on the four inflows and the outflow of Desert Lake, and on Washboard Wash. Emery WCD has agreed to operate and maintain the monitoring stations and to host the collected data on their website. They also collect water quality samples monthly at these monitoring stations and several natural springs which are up-gradient of the irrigated farm lands.
Water Sampling/Stream Gauging Stations
For more information, please contact:
Bureau of Reclamation, Upper Colorado Regional Office, 125 South State Street, Room 8100, Salt Lake City, Utah
84138-1147, (801) 524-3753
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, 125 South State Street, Room 6107, Salt Lake City, Utah
84138-1147, (801) 524-3831
Colorado River Bain Salinity Control Forum, 106 West 500 South, Suite 101, Bountiful, Utah
84010, (801) 292-4663
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, 540 West Price River Drive, Price, Utah
84501, (435) 637-0041 ext.19
Bureau of Reclamation, Provo Area Office, 302 East 1860 South, Provo, Utah
84607-7317, (801) 379-1232