Congress Passes Bill to Deepen Willard Bay
A bill sponsored by Congressman Rob Bishop and Senator Orrin Hatch which would increase water supplies for Northern Utah, has been passed by Congress this week. The Arthur V. Watkins Dam Enlargement Act authorizes the Secretary of Interior to conduct a feasibility study on increasing the height and capacity of the Watkins Dam at Willard Bay. Increasing the height of the dam would increase Willard Bay's storage capacity and provide more water for the expanding Wasatch Front population.
"We all know that water is essential to our future in the West," Congressman Bishop said, "so we've got to be looking at options to develop that resource. Expanding Willard Bay's capacity makes a lot of sense, and that's what this bill can do for us."
Willard Bay is an important water storage facility in Utah and the First District. With its 215,000 acre feet capacity, the water in Willard Bay meets the culinary and recreational needs of hundreds of thousands of residents in the northern Utah.
As the population of the State continues to increase, the need for additional water storage capacity grows. Because of the size of Willard Bay, raising the dam by just a few feet could dramatically increase its capacity. The exact amount of additional storage will be determined by the feasibility study, but it could be an increase of as much as 50,000 or 70,000 acre feet.
The legislation, which was passed by both the House and Senate as part of a package of resource-related bills, now heads to the President's desk.