Boondoggle nonsense

Saturday , November 15, 2014 - 12:00 AM

By ROLAND H. ROE, Guest commentary

In recent months the Standard-Examiner, to its great credit, has been reporting on water problems facing the West and on one here in Northern Utah resulting from an increasing number of people and businesses all of which require water.

On Sept. 9, the Standard-Examiner published an excellent article entitled “N. Utah dam still coming.”It reported on actions being considered to meet the future water needs of Northern Utah.

Those actions were recommended in a study commissioned and approved by our state’s legislatures in Bear River Project of 2000.

On Sept. 25, a column authored by Mr. Zach Frankel of Utah Rivers Council (URC), claimed that we have plenty of water for the future if only we would change our usage patterns. He also claimed that all the studies recommending dams be built on the Bear River were faulty because they didn’t consider costs in their analyses, and that proponents for building the dams were using scare tactics to enlist the public’s support.

He criticized Mr. Todd Adams, deputy director for the Utah Division of Water Resources and all the five-year studies which call for dams to be built on the Bear River, but never offered any details or specifies to support his assertions. He also failed to note that Mr. Matt Becker, BYU professor , in a Sept. 28 Standard-Examiner article entitled “Juniper reveals past climates,” stated in the last paragraph of the article: “The record I see in the past means that you don’t even need climate change to be a little concerned about water resources in our area.” Trying to conserve our way out of a future water disaster can only postpone the inevitable.

Mr. Frankel’s position that damming the Bear River will lower the GSL and that “we just let millions of birds die off so that we can overwater our lawns and driveways” is apocalyptical nonsense. Talk about scare tactics! He seems to overlook the fact that birds have wings and if and when habitat changes, birds will relocate to locations that will support their existence.

The aforementioned Mr. Adams has pointed out that the Bear River dams “would not be 100 percent depletion from the lake, rather it would be a diversion so that the water wouldn’t flow directly into the lake.”

Once Willard Bay is at “full pool” i.e. the 215,200 acre-feet capacity or some other designated level such as a “conservation level,” then any “excess water” could be released into the Harold Crane Migratory Bird Refuge and would eventually find its way into the Great Salt Lake.

In summary, Mr. Frankel has used scare tactics and unsupported assertions to dissuade us from supporting the necessary actions needed to meet our future water needs. His cry for conservation initiative has merit and we should all be looking for ways to conserve and support those measures deemed feasible.

I fully support the state’s position that the damming of the Bear River and the establishment of a conservation level at Willard Bay is in the best interest of the people of Northern Utah and urge the people to get involved in this crucial matter.

Roland H. Roe lives in Ogden.

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