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Iron County Cohort Files for 50,000 AF of Water That Doesn’t Exist, Again

The madness never stops, folks. Thankfully, we keep a close eye on water rights filings throughout the region and, once again, Escalante Valley Partners LLC – a cohort of local businessmen and farmers  in Escalante Valley, UT,  has filed for over 50,000 acre feet of deep groundwater in Iron and Washington Counties.

In an almost identical application to the company’s 2022 filing that caused a stir in the West Desert and protests from Beaver County, White Pine County, and others (read our protest here), Escalante Valley Partners is asking for 50,863 afy across 117 points of diversion and proposing to drill up to 10,000 ft deep. 

This “groundwater rush” on so-called deep aquifers comes after the basin’s adoption of a new groundwater management plan in 2021 that seeks to curtail decades of over-pumping and over-allocation. The new plan will cut allocations in half over the next 100 years, though cuts will begin as early as 2035. 


EVP’s new application seeks to remedy the water rights that farmers will have to forfeit under the new plan. 

As we told the SL Tribune in 2022, there is no certainty that these groundwater aquifers even exist. Equally concerning is the connectivity between the aquifers that we do know exist. Pumping of this magnitude in this area could draw down water in Pine and Wah Wah Valleys, Milford Valley, and into the Sevier Desert.

Rather than attempt to offset future cuts with water that may not even exist, communities need to reckon with the reality that water is not available. If we want to keep future generations on the land, it’s time to bring use into balance with what nature can truly provide.

The deadline for protest is January 17th. We’ll be filing another protest but if you’d like to submit your own, you can do so here.

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