Developing water resources of the Bear River is necessary to support future population and economic growth along the Wasatch Front. Utah has the fastest population growth in the nation; the state’s population is expected to approximately double by the year 2060, with much of that growth along the Wasatch Front (http://www.utahfoundation.org/uploads/rr720.pdf). Furthermore, the development of our economy relies on cheap water; for example, data storage centers rely on cheap water to be cost-competitive in their operations here in Utah (https://www.newsdeeply.com/water/articles/2016/08/29/bear-river-the-biggest-dam-project-youve-never-heard-of). Without this resource, we will not be able to sustain a vibrant growing population and economy along the Wasatch Front. As we plan for the future, we need to have all options available to meet our water needs, including the Bear River.
its true that our current population is expected to grow tremendously by 2060 and we will need more resources, but water may not be one of them. As far as i know, the current data they are using to justify the damming of Bear River comes from a poorly done water baseline survey from 2000. something they don’t take into account is that as the population grows, a lot of our farm lands are expected to turn into residential areas. residential areas only use a small fraction of the water that the agriculture industry does. this and the increasing rate of pubic resource conservation would certainly provide a completely different set of data. http://le.utah.gov/audit/15_01rpt.pdf
Something that has just recently came up to my mind while researching and debating this issue at hand with the damming of the Bear River. Is the benefits that could be possible with this actual damming of Bear River, while our populations do not seem to be likely to need this water based on how outdated the baseline population survey in the 2000 is (http://le.utah.gov/audit/15_01rpt.pdf). It seems to me we may be forgetting other useful potentials of this dam could actually be. It seems to me possible to have this dam be purely beneficial to all walks of life; it would simply take proper management and division of the water we receive. The great salt lake and the historic delta that supports the hundreds of migratory birds has massive flooding and droughts, having a dam could actually aid us to better maintain and manage our great lake and wetland ecosystem. Based on the supporting argument that we will not need extra water till 2060 we could potentially slowly fill these natural Reservoirs, while still keeping the water levels near to the same. If we implement policy to conserve water, by charging higher water prices, we could fill these Reservoirs while keeping close to the same water heading down the river into the Salt Lake and the delta. Once the Reservoirs were full we have endless possibilities with this water, we can manage precisely how much water flows down the bear river, and even replicate near to the same natural flooding and drought that this region is used to while at the same time preparing for our future and the possibility of needing more water to support our growing population.