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Utah: Improving Drinking Water Standards and Drought Mitigation by Improving Water Treatment Infrastructure

Severe drought in Utah forces larger cities to look at drinking water quality and preservation.

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Provo, Utah: $51 Million


On June 11, 2021, a new “Extreme Drought Watering Guide” was introduced for Utah to help mitigate for persistent seasonal drought. Provo, Utah, has been working hard to deal with how to manage its precious water resources for the city’s future. Provo is a city of 115,718 people, where water is primarily drawn from 160 springs and 15 wells, and is supplemented with groundwater supply through the Central Utah Water Conservancy District.

Project Description

The city of Provo’s project will draw water from the Provo River. The water will be treated to drinking water standards and pumped into the city’s culinary water distribution system. This infrastructure project leverages existing pipes to transmit water up to a point near Rock Canyon at the perimeter of the distribution system.

Some additional piping will be added to a main trunk of the distribution system to facilitate the transmission of the increased total volume of water needed for the project. In addition, piping will be added to convey the treated water from the perimeter of the distribution system to the proposed infiltration site, which is an ephemeral stream. From there, the water will infiltrate into the ground and recharge the aquifer, which is a nature-based solution to drought. The water will be recovered when needed using existing wells. From the beginning of the project, stakeholder engagement and participation were important, as well as providing a nature-based solution. Besides the citizens of Provo, other key partners included the U.S Forest Service (USFS), the Rock Canyon Preservation Alliance (RCPA), and State of Utah Division of Water Rights' State Engineer's office.