The proposed Garley Dam and Reservoir project, which will divert water from the Price River into a pipeline and carry it to a reservoir built in Garley Canyon, continues moving forward with early analysis work finding that the project is needed and is feasible.
“We’ve been studying the feasibility of the project for about a year now,” says Miles Nelson, Price City Public Works Director. “There is definitely a need for the project and so far our work is showing that the conditions and the Garley Canyon site make it feasible. However there is still more work to do.”
A project of this size requires significant planning, design and environmental analysis. Project planners have reviewed several past reports and analyzed ten potential sites before narrowing it down to Garley Canyon to evaluate further. Evaluation of potential sites included the following parameters: safety in design and construction, cost, storage capacity, dam size relative to water storage, access to existing infrastructure, and the potential for multiple uses.
Core samples were recently taken from Garley Canyon and experts found that ground conditions are suitable for building a reservoir in the area. Additional engineering and design work will be conducted and beginning in 2017 an Environmental Assessment (EA) will be completed. Construction of the project could happen by 2020, with the reservoir becoming operational by 2021.
“We are committed to engaging and collaborating with stakeholders so that we build the project in a responsible manner,” says Russell Seeley, Price City Engineer. “We also realize our obligation to the public to build the project that so that it meets or exceeds the most current construction and operation requirements, and so that it adds value to the community.”
The dam and reservoir will provide additional water and storage to better manage Price River water, which is the main source of water for western Carbon County. High-demand summer months and drought periods put a strain on the current system. Cities and irrigation companies lose water because of storage and infrastructure problems, and the area’s unpredictable water supply limits the opportunity for commercial and industrial development.
“Water is a precious resource that we need to manage wisely,” says Bill Butcher, President of Price River Water Users Association. “We live in the second driest state in the nation and that means, just like the rest of Utah, we need to rely on water infrastructure to survive.”
Price City has an existing water right to annually collect and use 5,000 acre-feet from Price River. This water has never been used because there is no place to store it.
“Garley Dam and Reservoir will allow us to add another important component to our area’s water infrastructure,” says Seeley. “Having a reliable supply of water to meet demand now and in the future will allow the area to continue to thrive.”