(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Dust blows through Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake on Saturday, June 18, 2022.

The Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee unanimously approved a bill that supporters say will aid in coordinating water conservation efforts. 

Sen. Scott Sandall’s water amendments bill, SB76, takes steps to incentivize the merging of land use and water planning and provides state resources to local agencies to accomplish this planning. The bill, approved Jan. 19, also responds to what Sandall, R-Tremonton, calls a “disconnect” between water districts and other water-related entities in the state, aiming to improve communication. 

“In order to be successful in planning both growth and water conservation, they need to be done together,” Tim Davis, director of Utah’s Division of Drinking Water, said in support of the bill. 

The bill would provide the Division of Water Resources a one-time allotment of $500,000 and an ongoing $130,000 to “provide water conservation planning grants and coordinated planning assistance to municipalities, districts and water providers” according to the legislation’s fiscal note. The Division of Drinking Water and the Department of Agriculture and Food would also both receive ongoing $130,000. 

Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture and Food Kelly Pehrson voiced his support for the bill, sending his appreciation to the committee for “bringing ag to the table.” 

Steven Clyde, a water rights lawyer and member of the Utah Water Task Force, said the bill was unanimously endorsed and supported by the group. 

“While it will not put more water in Great Salt Lake, it may help defer further water development by water suppliers and help relieve stress on Great Salt Lake,” Clyde told the Great Salt Lake Collaborative.

Great Salt Lake Collaborative Intern
Alexis Perno is a third year student at the University of Utah studying journalism and social work. Alexis aims to explore the intersection between social work and journalism in the future, namely through the world of macro social work, focusing on making an impact at the political and community level. Check out Alexis’ other journalistic endeavors at SLUG Mag, where their fierce love of music is allowed to shine. You can find them showing off their cat at every opportunity on Instagram @alexis.perno

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