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County counters charges

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

The war for water in Summit County is still underway.

Complaints filed recently by two South Summit men about county government, though, won’t do much to influence a decision currently being mulled by the Office of the Utah State Engineer, the agency that regulates water rights in the state.

That is according to the chief of Summit County’s Mountain Regional Water Special Service District, who is confident the state will side with the county in a ruling that concerns a fight about water rights near Peoa.

Woodland residents Mike Marty and Bill Miles recently filed protests claiming Mountain Regional officials broke the law in 2005 when they began diverting water from the Weber River into wells in South Summit owned by Summit County.

"They don’t have a lot of weight in terms of what is being considered at the state," Mountain Regional chief Andy Armstrong said about the protests from Miles and Marty.

The men filed the complaints several weeks too late, Armstrong contends.

The state could rule on the matter within 30 days, Armstrong said, adding, "We should know pretty quick."

Meanwhile, officials at Mountain Regional insist the purpose of the Lost Creek Canyon Pipeline was to pump water from their wells in Peoa diverted from the Weber River.

"The intent of the Lost Creek Canyon project was to get water out of the river," Mountain Regional spokesman Doug Evans admitted last week to the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission.

The county’s critics, however, counter that the permit allows only groundwater for the Lost Creek Canyon Pipeline, not surface water like what is being taken from the river.

By approving an application recently submitted by Mountain Regional, the state engineer would allow county officials to take both surface and groundwater for the pipeline.

"Please do what is right for the citizens of Summit County and the current users of this Weber River water," Marty states in the protest letter he wrote to Utah State Engineer Jerry Olds. "Please don’t cater to the developers of Promontory and hurt the individuals and organizations that currently have water rights and use this water."

With water from the Lost Creek Canyon Pipeline used at the gated Promontory golf community, Eastern Summit County Planning Commissioner John Blazzard claims water is being taken from the East Side for "three or four big developers."

"Tuhaye didn’t have any irrigation water, now they have the greenest pastures in town," Blazzard said.


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