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WURMP: Committee to develop a Water Utility Resource Management Plan Moab & Spanish Valley, Utah

January 01, 2023
by John S. Weisheit

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Essentially this water resource management plan is an assumption that growth in Moab-Spanish Valley, for the next 100-years, will need to develop water resource infrastructure for 48,000 people; about four times greater than the present population of 11,270 people as of 2022.

What is not an assumption, is that the aquifers of this community are presently being monitored to make sure we avoid mining our groundwater supplies. As to the Colorado River, the year in which demand exceeded supply happened in 2003. Since 1991, the 30-year average of inflow into Lake Powell has been declining 800,000 acre-feet every ten years, or 2.4 million acre-feet.

The correct 100-year plan should be about adapting to the impacts of climate change, rather than to assume business as usual.



Grand County Commission

WATER 101 (the first of three sessions)


  • Marc Stilson, Utah Division of Water Rights & Presentation
  • Arne Hultquist, Moab Area Watershed Partnership & Presentation

Archive of live presentation via YouTube:

Date, time and venue:
July 26, 2023 (Wednesday) at 6 PM
Utah State University, Classroom #101
1850 S. Aggie Boulevard
Moab, UT  84532

Posters: please print and distribute to your networks


WATER 201 EVENT (the second of a three part series)
Date, time and venue:
October 20, 2023 (Friday) at 6 PM
Utah State University, Classroom #101
1850 S. Aggie Boulevard
Moab, UT  84532

DOWNLOAD: the poster for WATER 201 and please share with your networks. Poster has a QR code to connect with the Zoom meeting.

Zoom Credentials
  • Dr. John (Jack) C Schmidt has focused on the effects of dams and diversions on rivers, environmental change of rivers, and development of strategies for mitigating the adverse effects of river development. At the Water 201 workshop, he will speak about present and future stream flow and water use of the Colorado River, and how that is relevant to us here in Grand County.
  • Dr. Thomas (Tom) E Lachmar has worked as a hydrogeologist for over 45 years. He holds multiple degrees in Geology, and worked at multiple consulting firms before joining the faculty in the Geosciences (formerly Geology) Department at Utah State University in 1990. Many Moab residents have wondered how to make sense of the more than one dozen water studies involving Moab and Spanish Valley’s water resources completed between 1971 and 2021. At the Water 201 workshop, Lachmar will share findings from his scientific peer review of all that published research. He will speak about the state of Moab’s aquifers and what the results mean for the future of our residents.
  • Dr. Jayne Belnap has been a resident scientist since 1980, studying the impacts of climate and human activities on ecosystem function, from local to global scales. Her Water 201 presentation will be a brief primer on the future climate, and its influence on water, for Grand County. She will cover how the combination of future precipitation and temperature, this climate's impact on plants and soils, human activities, and other forces will determine our future water supplies.



3rd Round of Public Meeting

2nd Round of Public Meetings
  • Sponsor: City of Moab
  • Monday, May 22nd at 6:00 via Zoom @
  • Wednesday, May 24th from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at the Grand Center in Moab.
Note: The 1st round of foundational meetings were not public


Ten Strategies for Climate Resilience on the Colorado River Basin



Criteria for a resource management plan. Utah Division of Water Resources

  • Legislative authority is: City of Moab, Grand County, & San Juan County.
  • Water Utility Purveyors: City of Moab, Grand Water & Sewer Service Agency, San Juan Spanish Valley Special Service District and Moab irrigation Company.
  • City Engineer for City of Moab - Chuck Williams <eMail>.
  • Hans, Allen and Luce; contractor to develop this management plan - Ben Miner <eMail>, Katie Jacobson (801-566-5599), Dan Jones.
  • Logan Simpson Design - Sophie Frankenburg <eMail> is public engagement contractor; Jim Carter  <eMail>.
  • Sunrise Engineering - (800-560-6151) Devan Shields.

Formative Documents for the water Resource Management Plan

73-5-15.  Groundwater management plan (view statute)

  • Safe Yield: Should the local goverments exceed the safe yield requirement for the aquifers of Moab-Spanish Valley, then regulating authority will be transferred to the State Engineer.


  • Matheson Wetlands: What is the brine layer doing and where is it going?
  • Hwy 191 Springs: Is the quantity decreasing and is the quality degrading?
  • Floods: Rain on snow, upstream dam failures, maximum precipitation events, monsoon cloudbursts, atmospheric rivers, sheet rain, development hardened landscapes. Colorado River, Mill Creek, Pack Creek; independently or all at sources of stream flow at the same time?
  • Mill Creek: It waters the shade trees and provides riparian habitat, and recharges the vslley fill aquifer aquifer, which weighs down upon on the brine layer effectively. Is this free ecological service important to our community, or not?
  • Sewer Service expansion will be required and preferably the facility will not be in the 500-year floodplain of the Colorado River, or the tributaries of Mill Creek and/or Pack Creek. Transportation corridor is already congested and unsafe.


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