Thanks to “Utah | Water Is Your Business” Sponsors

Friday, August 15th, 2014

The Salt Lake Chamber would like to give another round of thanks to our “Utah | Water is Your Business” launch sponsors for their support in helping our week-long water initiative to encourage the discussion on water: CH2M Hill, Holland & Hart, Whitaker Construction and Snell & Wilmer.


CH2M HILL is an industry-leading design, program management, and construction management firm. The firm’s work is concentrated in the areas of water, energy, transportation, environmental, nuclear, and industrial facilities. We have provided design and construction services in water system planning, water supply, treatment, conveyance, and water resource management for over 60 years and have been a leader in the Utah engineering community since 1979. Our resources include a comprehensive staff of engineers, scientists, construction managers, and support personnel totaling nearly 200 in Utah along with worldwide resources comprising more than 164 area offices and over 28,000 employees. We consistently rank among the top firms in numerous industry surveys.

CH2M HILL provides a comprehensive array of fully integrated services to help our clients take any water conveyance, treatment, or water resources project from concept to reality. Our full-service capabilities enable us to deliver multidimensional infrastructure projects throughout Utah and worldwide. We take projects of any size from concept to construction, from initial objectives to full operations, and remain at the forefront of technology advancements and innovations that help our clients make a difference in the lives of their customers every day.

Holland & Hart

Established in 1947, Holland & Hart has more than 470 lawyers providing a full range of service from 15 offices across the Mountain West and in Washington, D.C. With over 90 lawyers in our Salt Lake City office alone, we offer clients the value of local experience backed by a firm-wide network of resources to provide effective and efficient counsel on the wide range of legal issues facing Utah businesses. Holland & Hart was named the 2014 “Law Firm of the Year” for Water Law by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms.”

Holland & Hart’s Water Law practice comprises attorneys advising and representing a wide variety of clients across the Mountain West region in various types of water matters, including water rights, water supply development, and water quality issues. The firm’s Salt Lake office is located in Utah’s first LEED Gold-certified high-rise at 222 S. Main Street – a testament to the business community’s responsibility to lead by example in using innovative conservation practices. Partner Jody Williams is a member of Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s State Water Strategy Advisory Team; and as a member of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Board of Governors, she was instrumental in the creation of a Water Task Force in the Salt Lake Chamber’s Natural Resource Business Council.

Whitaker Construction

Founded in 1953, Whitaker Construction has grown into one of the largest utility contractors in Utah. With over 200 employees, we perform all types of water, sewer, natural gas and other pipelines; pump stations, earthwork and other civil projects.

We continue to build some of the largest and most complex utility projects in the state and are proud of our strong relationships with the local municipalities, utility companies, and sewer and water districts. We have been involved in many of the large water projects throughout Utah and we are grateful to be part of the ongoing effort to build the water infrastructure necessary to help our state thrive.”

Public Policy – August Update

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

As the “Voice of Business” and Utah’s statewide chamber, the Salt Lake Chamber leads out on critical issues that impact Utah businesses and our community. In the coming weeks, here is how we plan to “move the dial” to grow our economy, promote community prosperity and champion business in Utah, as well as ways for you to participate for the month of August and beyond.

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Public Policy

We are excited to announce that Michael Merrill has been promoted to Director of Public Policy for the Salt Lake Chamber. Michael will continue to focus and enhance the Chamber’s major initiatives, including economic development, infrastructure, the environment, Utah’s workforce and ensuring Utah’s premier business climate.

Additionally, Jesse Dean has been promoted to Director of Urban Development for the Downtown Alliance, focusing on economic development and urban policies in Salt Lake City’s downtown.

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Prosperity 2020

Prosperity 2020 is actively engaged in ensuring that our state has a world-class workforce and supporting education in our state. This includes recently speaking out in favor of extending the No Child Left Behind waiver.

In addition to these efforts, Prosperity 2020is looking to share how businesses are engaged in supporting education. Please take five minutes to complete this short survey to provide insight for the policymakers and others who ask what industry is saying about education’s impact on their companies.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Allyson Bell at 801-328-5076 or

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Natural Resources Business Council: August meeting focused on public lands initiative

Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014 | 7:30 – 9:00 AM

The Natural Resource Business Council represents an inclusive approach to multiple sectors of Utah’s economy. The Council is the guiding body for the water,  energy and minerals, clean air, and outdoor recreation and tourism task forces.

This month’s meeting will focus on updates from the Chamber’s efforts in these areas, as well as an update from Rep. Rob Bishop on the Public Lands Initiative.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at 801.558.5068 or

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Regulation: Chamber partnering on Utah Solutions Summit regarding regulation

Thursday, Aug.21, 2014 | 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM

We are partnering with Sen. Mike Lee, Gov. Gary Herbert, the Utah League of Cities and Towns, and the Utah Association of Counties for the Utah Solutions Summit on Thursday, August 21, 2014 to discuss the vast and uncertain regulatory burden under which businesses are required to comply and develop solutions to move our economy forward.

The agenda includes discussions with business leaders and government offi­cials about regulation compliance as well as the relationship between regulation and economic development. Included featured keynote speakers: U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.

If you have any other questions or comments, please reach out to Justin Jones at 801.558.9371 or

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Clean Air: 6th Annual Clear the Air Challenge another success

We all have a role in keeping our air clean and the 2014 Clear the Air Challenge was another great success exhibiting Utahns and Utah businesses’ willingness to drive smarter and drive less. More than 6,800 participants eliminated over 140,000 single-occupancy vehicles trips, averting more than 2 million miles traveled.

The winners of this year’s challenge will be announced on August 16 at 9:00 a.m. at the Downtown Farmers Market at Pioneer Park on the main stage. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Ryan Evans at 801.328.5063.

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Water: Chamber announces new effort to address Utah’s water challenges

As part of the “Utah | Water Is Your Business” week, the Salt Lake Chamber announced a co-chair for the newly launched water committee: Rob Moore, president of Big-D Construction. The Chamber water committee will focus on best practices for business in water conservation and management, and will also look at current and future infrastructure needs. To learn more, please visit “Utah | Water Is Your Business.” You can also follow the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #UTbiz4H2O.

We will have updates in the very near future on the committee including meeting dates and ways to participate. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at 801.558.5068 or

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Utah Transportation Coalition: Mountain transportation and Aerotroplis

Save the Date – Aerotroplis Guest Speaker – Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014

This past month Utah Transportation Coalition and Mountain Accord hosted business and community leaders to discuss the future of transportation in Utah’s Central Wasatch. Mountain transportation is one of the key transportation objectives for Utah’s business community because of its possible impact on our economy, quality of life, and opportunities to strengthen and enhance our natural environment.

The Salt Lake Chamber and Utah Transportation Coalition support these efforts to explore transportation options in the Wasatch Mountains that increase accessibility, are a net-positive for the environment, encourage transit, enhance Utah’s global brand, and pass a rigorous environmental and local process. For more information about the Mountain Accord Process, please visit

Addtionally, the Utah Transportation Coalition and Parsons Brinkerhoff will be hosting an Aerotroplis forum on October 16 to discuss the importance of the connection between Salt Lake City International Airport and Utah’s economy. The airport just recently broke ground on a 10-year terminal rebuild and released a report detailing the economic impact of the airport.

For more details, visit or contact Michael Merrill at 801.558.5068 or

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Energy: 2014 Uintah Basin Energy Summit

Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 – Vernal

Utah’s rich and diverse energy sector is one key reason behind our state’s thriving economy. This September key stakeholders will gather in one of Utah’s richest energy regions. The Uintah Basin Energy Summit is a complement to the Governor’s Energy Summit that focuses directly on economic growth and energy development in the Uintah Basin. The summit will be in held in Vernal, Utah, on September 4, 2014.

This region is extremely important to Utah’s broader business community. Most recently, the Utah State Chamber, the coordinating entity for chambers of commerce throughout Utah, held its annual summer meeting in the Uintah Basin. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at 801.558-5068 or

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Outdoor Recreation and Tourism: 2014 Summer Outdoor Retailer and Economic Club of Utah

Outdoor recreation and tourism represent robust business sectors that benefit both urban and rural Utah. We view efforts to enhance these industries as vital to economic development. This past month we held an industry focus group and will continue to engage Utah’s outdoor products and services companies.

As part of that effort, the Salt Lake Chamber visited the 2014 Summer Outdoor Retailer show and connected with key industry leaders. Additionally, the Chamber is supporting the Economic Club of Utah’s Summer Meeting, which is focusing on Utah’s outdoor economy.

We are also excited about our continued partnership with the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation and Office of Tourism, Global Branding and Film as we look to grow these industries.

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Downtown Alliance: Downtown still rising

In July 2014, the Downtown Alliance released the “2014 State of Downtown Economic Benchmark Report” from 2013 through first quarter 2014. This report tells a story of a constantly evolving and improving regional center for culture, commerce and entertainment. Economic activity and tax revenues continue to recover from the Great Recession of 2007-2009, with retail sales reaching over $800 million in eating, drinking, clothing department and other downtown retail categories. Over the last year, dozens of new office buildings, residential developments, hotels, theaters and public structures either broke ground or opened within 1.08 square mile Central Business District. For more information and a full copy of this report, please click here.

Looking forward to 2014-2015, there are several opportunities for improvement within the Central Business District. The Downtown Alliance will focus on policies and programs that impact the following areas:

- Redevelopment in downtown’s burgeoning entrepreneurial and transit-oriented neighborhood, the Depot District.
- Nightlife economy and creating a dynamic and diverse downtown that is welcoming to locals and visitors alike.
- Continued residential development to create a 24/7 urban center welcome to all ages, backgrounds and income levels.
- Development-friendly codes and zoning in order to remain a regional competitor for urban infill.

If you are interested in learning more about the Downtown Alliance’s initiatives or have any questions, please contact Director of Urban Development Jesse Dean at

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Health System Reform: Governor’s Healthy Utah Plan

Health System Reform Task Force meeting – Thursday, Aug.28, 2014

We are actively engaged in a number of issues in regards to health care and the business community. This includes the discussions around the Governor’s Healthy Utah Plan, the continued implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) and its impact on businesses, as well as directly engaging Utah’s employers as the largest payer in health care spending.

The Health System Reform Task Force will be meeting on August 28. If you have any other questions or comments, please reach out to Justin Jones at 801.558.9371 or

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International: Utah Global Forum

Utah Global Forum – Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014

On September 24, 2014, Utah will host the first of its kind Global Forum. Topics will include Building a Global Brand; Doing Business in Europe, Mexico, Canada and China; Shared Stories of Success from Utah Companies Abroad; Financing Your Global Expansion; and Global Operational Efficiency Through Sound Legal, Tax and Accounting Practices. The agenda for the event has been released and features a number of world-renowned business and trade experts.

If you’re thinking about exporting, looking to invest in one of the fastest growing economies in the United States or seeking inspiration to take your business to the next level, you won’t want to miss out on this forum.

For questions regarding the Utah Global Forum, please visit


Mountain Transportation

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Last week, the Utah Transportation Coalition and Mountain Accord hosted business and community leaders to discuss the future of transportation in Utah’s Central Wasatch. Mountain Transportation is one of the key transportation objectives for Utah’s business community because of its possible impact on our economy, quality of life and opportunities to strengthen and enhance our natural environment.

The discussion hosted at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort focused on the current Mountain Accord process. Led by Utah Transportation Coalition Co-Chair David R. Golden, the panel include Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Wasatch Front Regional Council Executive Director Andrew Grubber, Deer Valley President and CEO, Bob Wheaton and Utah Transit Authority General Manager, Michael Allegra. The panel shared the current progress of Mountain Accord and stressed the need for continued engagement, collaboration and focus on the long-term opportunities.

The Salt Lake Chamber and Utah Transportation Coalition support these efforts to explore transportation options in the Wasatch Mountain that increase accessibility, are a net-positive for the environment, encourage transit, enhance Utah’s global brand, and pass a rigorous environmental and local process. For more information about the Mountain Accord Process please visit

The Proposed Trail: Jordan and Salt Lake Canal

Friday, August 8th, 2014

The history of the canal

Completed in 1882, the Jordan and Salt Lake City Canal diverts water from the Jordan River headwaters to the east side of Salt Lake City.  Originally constructed to serve the irrigation needs of settlers, the canal was buried in conduit when the area evolved from farmland into residential properties in the 1910s. Still in operation, the canal is run by Salt Lake City Public Utilities.

The opportunity it presents for transportation and human experience

The public land over and along the canal presents an opportunity for creating a walking and bicycling connector between nearby neighborhoods and key destinations.  Running parallel to the high-traffic corridor of 1100 East/Highland Drive, the canal can provide a safe and comfortable option for walking and bicycling, without the purchase of large amounts of private property or redesigning streets.

The process so far, and future plans for design and installation

In 1992, the Salt Lake City Open Space Plan recognized the canal corridor as a potential bicycle and pedestrian trail, with broad-level concepts for potential alignments. At a high level, the 2001 Sugar House Area Master Plan also identifies the Jordan and Salt Lake City Canal as a trail corridor in the Parks and Open Space section of the plan. In March 2003, the Westminster Neighborhood Small Area Master Plan also recommended creating a public “Canal Plaza” by daylighting the canal at a nearby intersection.

In 2011, the Salt Lake City Transportation Division initiated development of a plan for implementing the proposed trail.  The Salt Lake City Council adopted the resulting Jordan and Salt Lake City Canal Trail Implementation Plan in 2013. The plan identifies preferred alignments, design options, phasing recommendations, cost estimates, and critical action items in support of construction. Based on this plan, the Transportation Division requested capital improvement funding for the project, and Salt Lake City Council approved funding in June of 2014.  The Transportation Division will hire a consultant this fall to lead detailed design and engineering in late 2014.

Throughout these planning processes, the Sugar House Community Council voiced support for the trail through a series of official letters, meetings, and motions in support of the trail improvements.

Water district invests $1 million in aging infrastructure

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Washington County Water Conservancy District recently invested $1 million to replace aging infrastructure at one of the district’s most critical operational facilities, the Quail Creek Diversion. The diversion’s original 20-foot tall and 40-foot wide steel gate has been replaced with a stainless steel version and the existing hydraulic cylinders have been rebuilt. The original concrete structure was unaltered.

The district opted to replace the gate and rebuild the hydraulic cylinders after much research and consultation. Some of the steel in the original gate, installed in 1985, was delaminating and flaking and repair costs were comparable to replacement costs.

Stainless steel was selected as the material of choice after learning it has an approximately 80 to 100 year life compared to a 30-year life for steel, according to gate manufacturer Rodney Hunt, an international leader in flow control systems founded in 1840. Costs for stainless steel are approximately 25-percent more.

“Paying a little more now will save us a significant amount of money in the future,” said Ron Thompson, general manager of Washington County Water Conservancy District. “We’re confident this is a wise investment in our community that will serve many generations to come.”

The 40-ton gate was transported from Rodney Hunt’s headquarters in Massachusetts to the diversion near Hurricane, Utah on multiple semi-trucks, arriving in full in late December.

Rodney Hunt served as the manufacturer of the original and replacement gate. Locally owned and operated Caterpillar and construction equipment dealer, Wheeler CAT, rebuilt the hydraulic cylinders and southern Utah-based Ruesch Machine provided crane services.

About the Quail Creek Diversion
Quail Creek Diversion, the district’s largest diversion, was originally built in 1985 to collect water from the Virgin River. Water is diverted through an 8.7-mile, 72-inch steel pipeline to the Quail Creek Hydropower Plant before emptying into Sand Hollow and/or Quail Creek Reservoirs. From there, the water is treated at the Quail Creek Water Treatment Plant and delivered to the district’s municipal customers to support Washington County’s business and residential populations.

About Washington County Water Conservancy District
Washington County Water Conservancy District (WCWCD), a non-profit public agency, was established in 1962 to manage Southern Utah’s regional water needs. Its executives oversee the development, stabilization, management, acquisition and conservation of water resources in Washington County in an ongoing effort to provide a safe, sustainable water supply for current and future generations. Visit for more information.

Water Infrastructure Stories

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

A New Water Supply: Southwest Jordan Valley Groundwater Project

Response to Mining Contamination

By the 1980s the extent of groundwater contamination from a century of mining operation in the Bingham Canyon mining district became apparent. Studies showed that the main contaminate, sulfate, had moved in groundwater “plumes” from the mouth of Bingham Canyon to the Jordan River.

Over 50 square miles land in southwest Salt Lake Valley was affected. Today through great innovations and a commitment to our water infrastructure the Southwest Jordan Valley Ground Water Project provides unique benefits to the public in Salt Lake Valley, including:

· Containment of the contamination sources
· Re-mediating the groundwater contamination
· Producing high quality drinking water supplies to the public

See the “A New Water Supply” PDF here.

Logan Canyon, DeWitt Pipeline – Condition Assessment and Rehabilitation/Replacement


The DeWitt Pipeline, which delivers most of Logan’s culinary water, was 60 years old and appeared to be leaking. CH2M HILL performed a condition assessment of the 36-inch diameter, 5-mile long pipeline and found the pipeline leakage had steadily increased over a 9 year period. To determine the overall condition of the pipeline and evaluate alternatives for rehabilitation and replacement CH2M HILL performed a system hydraulic analysis, calibration of flow records, hydro-tests of three pipeline segments, a geologic hazards analysis, manned internal inspection, lining/coating inspections, and pipe and soils corrosion tests. The increased leakage was plotted over the 9 years of record and the plot revealed steadily increasing leakage—a classic corrosion failure pattern. The plot also revealed leakage increases in winter months (during low flows/high pressures). The high-pressure parts of the pipeline constructed with steel had badly failed coatings and corrosion pitting. The unprotected steel pipe, along the highway shoulder, was rapidly failing as it was exposed to annual salt loadings and constant wet/dry cycles.

The assessment of the overall system also determined that the potable water spring produced more flow than the old pipe could convey. The overall value of the water delivery system could be increased by capturing and conveying the additional flow to help meet increased demands. CH2M HILL designed a replacement for approximately 40 percent of the pipeline and the rest of the pipeline was determined to be in excellent condition with virtually no corrosion. CH2M HILL recommended rehabilitating only the pipe appurtenances in the upstream RCP segments. The pipeline was put into operation in 2009. In its first 6 months the system yielded about 40 percent more potable (high value) water than before. The City is pleased with the rehabilitated system, especially the increased capacity that captures more water to meet the growing water demands.

Metropolitan Water District of Salt Lake & Sandy

During the late 1920s and early 1930s, Salt Lake City was growing and the need for an additional water supply was of vital importance. Over the prior 70-80 years, the City had developed the water supplies available in the Wasatch Canyon streams within the Salt Lake valley. Over the course of the next few years in the early 1930s, extensive planning and study was done regarding options for the future water supply of Salt Lake City and the surrounding valley.

The creation of the Metropolitan Water District of Salt Lake & Sandy (District) was one of the results of this planning. The District, originally known as the Metropolitan Water District of Salt Lake City, was formally established by the Salt Lake City Commission on August 30, 1935 following an election held earlier that month on August 15, 1935. Sandy City joined the District in 1990. The District’s primary function is to create a firm water supply for its member cities. The District also provides water to others entities on a surplus basis. The District is citizen-administered through a Board of Trustees comprised of seven board members which serve four year terms. Five of the Trustees are appointed by the Salt Lake City Council and two Trustees are appointed by the Sandy City Council.

The District receives water supply from Little Cottonwood Canyon, Bell Canyon, the Provo River Project, the Ontario Drain Tunnel, Little Dell Reservoir, and the Central Utah Project.  Through the Provo River Project, the District is a shareholder of the Provo River Water Users Association. The Provo River Project includes the Salt Lake Aqueduct, Deer Creek Dam, Provo Reservoir Aqueduct, and the Tranbasin Diversions. The Central Utah Project includes Jordanelle Reservoir, Jordan Aqueduct, and the Jordan Valley Water Treatment Plant.

The mission of the Metropolitan Water District of Salt Lake & Sandy is to provide “high quality water and reliable services to our customers in a safe, timely, economical, and environmentally sensitive manner.” In order to provide high quality water and reliable services, the District is faced with the challenges of operating and maintaining the infrastructure that is in place today.

Some of the infrastructure is aging such as the Salt Lake Aqueduct and Terminal Reservoir. Recent conditional assessments show the Salt Lake Aqueduct to be in good condition despite its 70 years of age. When it comes time to replace the Salt Lake Aqueduct, it will take several years to replace the 42 miles of aqueduct. It is anticipated that the District will be able to cover the costs of its replacement. While the aqueduct replacement is in the future, a decision was made to replace Terminal Reservoir sooner than later due to the reservoir reaching its design life and seismic concerns with the columns and roof slabs.

Terminal Reservoir was originally built in 1952 and consisted of two 20 MG reservoirs. These reservoirs were part of the Provo River Project and were constructed under the direction of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The Terminal Reservoir Replacement Project involves the construction of 47.8 million gallons of new storage facilities while maintaining service to Salt Lake City. In order to fund the $42.2 million dollars for the project, the District issued water revenue bonds. The repayment of the bonds will be made by the member cities through increases to water rates and assessments.

Construction Coordination for Pipeline and Asphalt Laying for JVWCD

Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District coordinates its major pipeline construction projects with its member cities and others to avoid costly duplication of efforts and materials. Cities keep us informed when they plan to re-asphalt or replace one of their roadways. If we have a pipeline in that roadway that may need work within the next 5 years, we are then able to coordinate our work with theirs and save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Construction work on roadways can damage older pipelines, so the coordination not only saves taxpayers money, but also ties into our repair and replacement program. Repair and/or replacement of aging pipelines and other infrastructure depends largely on the age or history of the facility or pipeline. For instance, one 50-year old pipeline may have years of life left in it while a younger pipeline may need to be replaced. Engineers watch the break history of the pipelines, and can replace either a segment or the entire line depending on need.
Our facility repair and replacement is a philosophy of replacing a little each year so that we don’t ever have to replace the entire system all at once.

The cities and or entities Jordan Valley Water coordinates its projects with include: Murray*, Riverton, South Salt Lake*, Taylorsville, South Jordan**, Holladay, West Jordan**, Herriman, Salt Lake County*, UDOT, Draper UTA and Bluffdale.

Coordinating with these cities and entities has saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars on specific projects.

*Annual meetings because our retail pipelines are within their boundaries and there are on-going replacement needs.
**As needed, project specific

Weber Basin Infrastructure Investments

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Investments in Water Conservation and Flood Prevention in Weber County


Originally constructed in the 1960s, the 10-mile long Willard Canal receives diverted water from the Ogden and Weber rivers and delivers it to various lands and facilities in western Weber and Box Elder counties including Willard Bay Reservoir.  In 2008, Weber Basin Water Conservancy District (WBWCD) conducted a review of its facilities and determined that there was significant seepage through the original clay liner of the canal.  From 2011 to 2013, WBWCD began designing and constructing a reinforced concrete liner for the uppermost 3,000 feet of the canal.  Construction times are very short as the District can only afford short interruptions in flows going to Willard Bay Reservoir. The first phase was completed on time, and upon measurements taken the next spring, there were virtually no seepage losses through the newly concrete-lined portion of the canal.  The resulting water savings were an amazing 7,086 acre-feet of water per year (2,308,983,212 gallons).  The volume saved is approximately equivalent to the entire capacity of Causey Reservoir (another WBWCD reservoir) every year.

Another enhancement of this project, which will greatly benefit the public, is that the canal lining is designed for increased flow rates.  The newly lined canal capacity is 2,000 cfs , double the original design.  The increased capacity will channel significantly more water from the Weber River during flood stages, protecting thousands of acres of property downstream.  Because of the size of the canal, the costs for this project are significant. The concrete liner construction costs are $845 per linear foot. Phase 2 of the canal lining project was just completed in 2014.  The seepage savings data is being collected and analyzed now, however the geotechnical estimates predict an additional savings of 4,100 acre-feet per year.  Construction of the next section of canal lining (phase 3) will commence in fall of 2014.

The Importance and High Cost of Repairing and Replacing Water Infrastructure


Pineview Dam, located on the Ogden River in northern Utah, is a zoned earth and rock-fill embankment originally constructed in 1936 and enlarged by the federal Weber Basin Project in 1957.  Since then, seismic research and technology have advanced significantly, and it has been found that certain materials under dams are not as stable as was once believed and may liquefy during a seismic event. During a Safety of Dams inspection in 1988, it was found that Pineview Dam had materials with liquefaction potential, and an initial berm was constructed on the downstream toe to stabilize the dam during an earthquake.  Federal criteria for dams continue to be updated, and during the 1990s new evidence was documented showing additional liquefaction potential of other materials contained in Pineview Dam.  An extensive seismic modification was done on the dam between 2002 and 2005 that included modifications to the foundation, crest, and spillway. The total project costs for the modifications reached $13.25 million.  With the new seismic modifications, Pineview Dam’s risk has been reduced below Bureau of Reclamation guidelines.

The repairs of Pineview Dam are typical of what will be required on all water infrastructures in Utah over the next several decades.  Dams, pipelines, treatment plants, pump stations, etc. are reaching the end of their engineered life and will need to be replaced. This will come at a high cost, and future water rates will reflect those needed expenditures. The costs of water infrastructure replacement in Utah are projected to exceed those of building new facilities over the next 50 years.

Flood Control: Another Public Good Provided by Water Projects


Many may remember the spring and summer of 2011 for the huge snow totals, extreme flood potential, and resulting state of emergency declared in northern Utah.  What many do not realize is the preparation and management of conservancy districts and river associations in the background that mitigated a lot of flooding and damage.  The chart below shows the river flows of the Weber River during that time period.  During a typical year, the Weber River at Interstate 15 will see flows ranging from 100-200 cfs, with perhaps a peak of 300 cfs if there is a large storm.  On at least two occasions in 2011, the wet winter and late spring storm systems would have pushed river flows to a peak of 9,000 cfs.

As soon as the first high runoff forecasts were received, Weber Basin Water Conservancy District (WBWCD) began releasing water out of its large reservoirs to make room for flood volumes.  As the forecast numbers kept climbing, as much water as was possible was sent downstream to the Great Salt Lake in preparation for the large runoff.  The predicted high flows came, so much so that enough water came down the Ogden River to fill Pineview Reservoir two and a half times.  Smaller reservoirs such as Smith and Morehouse were being filled once every 5 days.  By using facilities such as dams and diversions and implementing hourly management adjustments, WBWCD was able to keep peak Weber River flows at Interstate 15 under 5,000 cfs (versus the projected 9,000 cfs) and taper flows much more quickly than if the rivers were left unmanaged.  Millions of dollars of property damage and flood interference were avoided due to water facilities (mainly designed for water supply) being operated for flood control purposes. Although water infrastructure is largely unnoticed by the public, it quietly provides much needed water supplies to an ever-growing population and protects that same population from severe drought and flood.

Weber Basin Water Conservancy District (WBWCD) has the regional water supply responsibilities for Davis, Weber, Morgan, Summit, and Box Elder counties. WBWCD wholesales water to and develops additional supplies for cities, districts, and companies within those counties. Those agencies in turn distribute and retail to their respective customers. WBWCD is unique in that it provides many types of water including drinking, agricultural, urban secondary, industrial, and replacement water. Weber Basin delivers over 73 billion gallons (223,502 acre-feet) of water annually: 47 billion (144,644 acre-feet) for municipal and industrial uses, which include secondary pressure irrigation systems, and 26 billion (78,838 acre-feet) for irrigation. 

You can read the complete Executive Summary for Weber Basin here.

Olmstead Flowline – Rehabilitation & Replacement Projects

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Central Utah Water Conservancy District’s (CUWCD’s) 50-year-old, 5-mile, 102-inch pipe in Provo Canyon did not meet the increased reliability and capacity needs of constantly growing municipal and industrial (M&I) demands. The Olmsted Flowline is a key element in the CUWCD’s system to deliver water to more than 1 million people living along the Wasatch Front. The original Flowline was built in the early 1900s by Utah Power & Light (UP&L) as part of a power facility. About 1950, the original wood stave Flowline was replaced with an above-ground welded steel pipeline. In 1987, these facilities were obtained from UP&L by the CUWCD as part of the Central Utah Project. These facilities could no longer met the needs of the District because of limited capacity and structural and geologic deficiencies.

Past failures from landslides, rock falls, talus slope movement, leaky reinforced-concrete pipe (RCP) and steel pipe joints, and capacity constraints were increasing in frequency. Other failure risks (seismic and corrosion) were equally unacceptable as the water treatment plants (WTPs) relied on the Flowline as their main supply. When a massive slide knocked out several thousand feet of pipe, CH2M HILL was retained to assess the options to restore the system so that it was reliable and reduced maintenance requirements.

CH2M HILL did a full condition assessment on the 5-mile aqueduct system, which resulted in rehabilitating and replacing the Flowline under 4 separate design and construction contracts. Most steel pipe sections where replaced with a new 120-inch diameter steel pipeline.  The selected options were built over a three-winter period when the aqueduct could be taken out of service, and included the following:

  • Where the old pipe crossed a large landslide actively moving at ¼-inch per year, the replacement pipe utilized an above-grade flexible conduit on steel ring girders and skids.

  • Rehabilitated pipes segments included reaches of low pressure 120- and 102-inch RCP and 114- and 102-inch WSP.

  • A 10-million-gallon regulating reservoir was added at the downstream end of the aqueduct to provide operational flexibility.

  • An existing section of 102-inch steel pipe located on a steep cliff face was rehabilitated by casting reinforced concrete around the pipe and installing rock anchor bolts to secure it to the existing cliff.

Here are more details on the projects Olmsted underwent.

Olmsted Tunnel Project


Improve reliability of Olmsted flowline
Circumvent the Canyon Glen Landslide
Eliminate rockfall hazard

Designer: CH2M Hill, Inc.
Contractor: Morrison-Knudsen, Inc.
Project Cost: $13.8 M

Olmsted Flowline Reach “A” Rehabilitation Project


To improve reliability
Decrease O&M costs
Maintain emergency spill capability

Designer: CH2M Hill, Inc.
Contractor: Gerber Construction
Project Cost: $2.5 M

Olmsted Flowline Replacement Project


Restore hydraulic capacity
Improve reliability of the flowline
Reduce risk from seismic, landslide, rockfall hazards
Develop operational storage
Improve operational flexibility
Reduce O&M costs

Designer: CH2M Hill, Inc.
Contractor: W.W. Clyde & Co.
Inspector: USBR
Project Cost: $43 M

The Olmsted Power Plant down in Orem, Utah, was built in 1904–a true historic gem both in the state and in the nation as one of the very first hydroelectric plants in the country. In 1912, Utah Power and Light Company took over the plant and has been operating it ever since.

This hydroelectric power plant uses water from the Provo River, conveyed through a flowline that runs along the foothills of Mount Timpanogos. When operating at capacity, the Olmsted plant can produce around 12 megawatts per hour, which can power about 3,000 homes.  The water delivery system has largely remained untouched over the years.

Water Conservation Stories

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Here are other stories of water conservation from Utah businesses:

Clarion Suites (1239 S. Main St., St. George) retrofitted 122 guest room toilets, receiving a rebate of $9,150 and showing a water savings of 16,275 gallons per month when compared to the year prior.  According to our onsite contact Dianna Hawks, occupancy rates are up over that timeframe, but they are using significantly less water.

TOSH Hospital was chose in October of 2013, for a pilot study to save water. Its smaller scale and location were considered a key factor in trying a new non-chemical cooling tower treatment.

A 600-ton cooling tower was running three cycles of concentration on a traditional chemical program. The conductivity set point was 1000 TDS (Total Dissolved Solids). Once the new treatment was installed, we eliminated any blow down (draining water from the tower) within the first two months.

Currently the system is running at 22,000 TDS with more than 180,000 gallons of water saved since the system was installed. The system is monitored online with complete redundancy. For those counting, that is a 2,100 percent increase in TDS. Cycles of concentration have increased to over 30.

Why this is different than traditional chemical-based approaches?
Typical tower treatment programs “Treat Water with Water” and chemicals prevent scale until the conductivity of the tower water increases, at which point they drain the water from the basin and bring in fresh water and add more chemicals. They like to call it the “Diminishing Return” on cycles of concentration. It also conveniently allows them a conduit to waste water.

Let’s run the math:
Constant Evaporation at 2,203,200 gal/yr

Total Water Used COC Waste Water to Drain
6,609,600 1.5 4,406,400
3,304,800 3.0 1,101,600

Now they want you to believe that scale will occur beyond this point. Three COC is the bar. Why? Because our chemical industry has made that bar for us.

Corrosion and scale -
After eight months, the system iron levels have gone from .95 ppm down to .04 ppm. Mild steel corrosion rates have averaged 0.13 mpy and copper corrosion rates have averaged .03 mpy. NACE standards for excellent corrosion protection are 1mpy for mild steel and .3 mpy for copper. There is no visible corrosion and online corrosion coupons back these results.

Recycling Water at Kennecott Utah Copper

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Kennecott Utah Copper’s (Kennecott) operations are located near Salt Lake City, Utah, where its business has been operating for 110 years. Increasing population and other factors are placing more pressure on water resources within the region, making sustainable water management critical to Kennecott.

In 2011, total in-state spending by Rio Tinto’s businesses was $1.2 billion, which included $270 million in wages, salaries, benefits, and pensions; $765 million in purchases from Utah firms; and $140 million in payments to state and local government (including taxes.)

Greater than 90 percent of the water used at Kennecott is characterized as poor (low) quality water, and an average of 60 percent of the water withdrawn is recycled to minimize importing additional water resources. [1] The largest water user at Kennecott is the concentrator, which concentrates the copper after it is finely ground.[2] However, more than 90 percent of the water used at that concentrator is from recycling. To drive water performance improvements, Kennecott is developing a water management approach that recognizes that different waters have varied benefits and costs that support using different waters for different purposes.

This water hierarchy approach recognizes the need to balance a number of considerations including availability of water and water quality; the location and type of infrastructure required to transport or treat water; energy use; and regulatory or legal requirements. Kennecott’s water hierarchy approach aims to do the following:

- Use poorer-quality water first in operations to minimize the amount of new, clean water required for use
- Recycle process water where practicable
- Separate waters of different quality to optimize water use within the process
- Maintain direct involvement and support with the scientific community in advancing technologies and education in improving best practices and methodologies
- Educate the workforce in best water management practices

For example, when a groundwater source used by the concentrator became unavailable, Kennecott applied the water hierarchy approach to select a replacement source. Kennecott assessed several possible alternative sources, including: (i) potable quality groundwater; (ii) surface water suitable for irrigation, and (iii) recycled water sources from its operation. The three replacement sources each carried distinct costs and benefits. No source was adjacent to the concentrator, so each source carried transportation infrastructure and operational costs, which differed according to relative proximity. Although recycling required transportation across 13 miles compared to 3 miles for potable groundwater, existing infrastructure was available for recycling. The need for new infrastructure for the groundwater and surface water sources increased the “costs” of these water sources. Additionally, using recycled water preserved potable groundwater to meet existing and future culinary purposes and saved the surface water for agricultural use.

Capital and operational costs, however, were not the only considerations. Poor water quality can impact metals recovery during the milling process; therefore process changes were also needed to limit inhibited metal recovery. Kennecott ultimately replaced the original groundwater source with the lower quality recycled water. The decision considered tradeoffs among operational needs, energy requirements, new infrastructure, and the economics of each option. However, the water hierarchy approach was the primary guide that led to the decision to use the recycled water source.


Kennecott and Rio Tinto directly employed 2,810 people in Utah during 2011, with an annual payroll of $253 million (including benefits) and an average payroll per job of $90,000, which makes these among the highest-paying jobs in the state. The companies were responsible for another 14,971 indirect jobs during this period. Provided by Rio Tinto (see also Based on research performed and submitted by: Pamela S. Perlich, Ph.D., senior research economist Bureau of Economic and Business Research University of Utah Released June 2012.

[2] Rio Tinto categorizes water as either freshwater or poor water. Freshwater is defined as potable water or good-quality raw water with total dissolved solids less than 1,500 milligrams per liter. Poor water is defined as raw water with total dissolved solids greater than 1,500 milligrams per liter.