Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sediment Slowly Filling Utah’s Reservoirs

Salt Lake City, Utah -- A first-of-its-kind, comprehensive overview of sediment accumulation in Utah reservoirs is now available. The Utah Division of Water Resources (DWRe) announced the completion of the latest in a series of reports under the title of “Utah State Water Plan.”

The report, Managing Sediment in Utah’s Reservoirs, warns of the serious negative impacts of reservoir sedimentation, and offers several proven strategies to address the problem. “The report is written primarily for those who own and operate reservoirs in Utah,” said Dennis Strong, DWRe Director. “We hope it will encourage them to assess how sedimentation is impacting their reservoirs and to take the necessary actions to protect the future availability of Utah’s critical water storage facilities.”

The report addresses:
*How the traditional approach to dam building and reservoir operation disrupts the sediment balance in a stream and ultimately leads to the demise of most reservoirs

*The estimated rate of storage capacity loss in Utah’s reservoirs due to sediment accumulation

*How much of Utah’s reservoir capacity has already been lost, and will continue to be lost, if nothing is done

*Various strategies that have been used to decrease sedimentation rates

*Case studies from reservoirs in Utah and other locations

*Recommendations for future action at the state and local levels

“The report is definitely an eye-opener,” said Todd Stonely, River Basin Planning Chief. “Reservoir sedimentation is a challenge that threatens the sustainability of our water supplies. It is a problem we cannot afford to ignore.”

A copy of the report is available at the division’s web site:'s%20Reservoirs1.pdf

The Division of Water Resources plans, conserves, develops and protects Utah’s water resources.

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