Bear River Alternatives Paper
Water agencies seeking to spend $2.5 billion on Bear River Development claim the massive water project is necessary for Utah’s future. But Utah Rivers Council has authored a new 50-page report which disputes this claim citing contradictory data and an abundance of less-expensive alternatives to provide water for Wasatch Front population growth. Proposed Bear River Development would divert the Bear River upstream of the Great Salt Lake, lowering the Lake several feet in elevation. This would dry up tens of thousands of acres of wetlands and kill off habitat for millions of migratory birds. Lowering the Lake will also impact air quality along the Wasatch Front by exposing vast tracts of lakebed and increasing the amount of airborne dust during windstorms.
The 2nd edition of the Alternatives report summarizes new research conducted by Utah Rivers Council staff, colleagues and that of other agencies, which demonstrates that Bear River Development is completely unnecessary for Utah’s water future. The report analyzes the purported need for Bear River Development, blasting holes in the claim the Wasatch Front needs the water and outlines eight inexpensive alternatives that could provide municipal water without diverting the Bear River.