Feb 18 2009
A Utah state House measure (House Bill 241) which would give agriculture use of water a priority higher than that of domestic uses in “times of scarcity” has drawn some sharp opposition.
The bill has cleared the House 52-18, and is awaiting Senate committee action.
In committee sessions, backers of the bill – including Mike Styler, Director Department of Natural Resources, and Todd Bingham, Utah Farm Bureau – faced off against Fred Finlinson, Utah Water Coalition; Pat Casaday, Sandy City; Scott Ruppe, Uintah Water Conservancy District; Jodi Hoffman, Utah League of Cities and Towns; and Craig Smith, a lawyer representing several public water suppliers.
The bill’s supporters said that a measure (House Bill 51) passed in 2008 gave some advantage to city water right holders, and this year have approved (awaiting the governor’s signature) an extension on those provisions.
Urban advocates warned of the risk of residents losing their drinking water.