POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

New bill seeks to study creating a centralized place for Utah water data

Feb 21, 2024, 1:00 PM

FILE: Great Salt Lake as seen from the marina in August 2023.  (Adam Small, KSL NewsRadio)...

FILE: Great Salt Lake as seen from the marina in August 2023. (Adam Small, KSL NewsRadio)

(Adam Small, KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY— A Utah lawmaker is pushing legislation to fund a study that would examine Utah’s potential to create a place to hold all of the state’s water data.

Rep. Brian King (D-Salt Lake City), is sponsoring House Bill 472. The Utah Division of Water Resources and the Division of Water Rights would be tasked with the study. 

The goal is to create a centralized water center and database housing all of the state’s water data. It would include data for the water that feeds the Great Salt Lake. It is still several feet below its healthy level.

Agencies all over the state track water, however, King said that accessing and understanding that data is challenging. 

“We have so much data from so many different users…entities and individuals who have water rights, it’s a real challenge to gather this information,” King told a Utah House committee earlier this month.

Easier access to water data

King said this database and center would help people access the information more easily. Additionally, it would make the data more easily understood. 

If the bill passes, it would not automatically pave a way for the water center. It would only initiate the study process.

According to the bill’s fiscal note, the study would cost $204,000 in 2024. In 2025, it is expected to cost an additional $25,200. 

The bill requires the study to be completed by July 2025.

The bill was passed by a House committee earlier this month. However, it has gone stagnant over the last week or so. It still needs approval from the full House, Senate, and Utah Governor Spencer Cox to become law.

The clock is ticking. All bills from this General Legislative Session must be signed into law before midnight on March 1.

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New bill seeks to study creating a centralized place for Utah water data