Tag Archives: natural resources

Snake Valley Water Agreement: On hold, but not dead – Speak out!

(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)

Last week we reported on the impending signing of the  Snake Water Valley Agreement by Utah’s Governer Herbert.  The agreement would have given the go-ahead for a multi-billion dollar pipeline that would have allowed 50,000 acre-feet to be drawn from the Snake Valley Aquifer.

It now appears that Nevada’s Supreme Court ruling on the matter has stopped the signing of this agreement in its tracks

“This ruling significantly changes the landscape upon which our ongoing discussions have been based,” Herbert said. “It allows us to revisit the proposed agreement with the state of Nevada and ensure that our continued desire to protect Utah’s water interests and the environment is met.”

“This is a very important decision and a home run for the public,” said Great Basin Water Network coordinator Rose Strickland. “The Supreme Court followed the Nevada water law. If we follow the law and the science, there will be no misguided pipeline threatening the environment and economies of rural Nevada and Utah.”

Salt Lake Mayor Peter Corroon, candidate for Governor of Utah, is also opposed to the water agreement.

“Salt Lake County appreciates that Gov. Herbert has decided to postpone signing the currently proposed deal,” Corroon said. “In a state where water is at such an extreme premium, we need to protect it as much as possible.”

and here is what the editors of the Salt Lake Tribune have to say about it:

Now a lower court must decide whether the Southern Nevada Water Authority must file new groundwater applications or the state engineer must reopen the protest period. We presume that in either case, interested parties in Utah, including residents of Snake Valley, will have an opportunity to be heard by the Nevada state engineer.

We hope that this would lead to renewed scientific study of the aquifers beneath Snake Valley and others in this region. Experts suspect that withdrawing 50,000 acre-feet of water from beneath that valley, the amount SNWA has asked, would be unsustainable and could turn it and the neighboring valleys into a dustbowl.

Until this process plays out, Utah should not sign any agreement with Nevada.

Just because there is a delay in this agreement doesn’t mean it’s dead.  There is still much work to be done.  There are ways that  citizens can get involved and have their voices heard.  The  Great Basin Water Network is a good place to start.  The bottom line is to:stay engaged by

writing letters to the editor of your local newspapers, attend public hearings, comment on federal, state and local actions. Be an advocate for wise water use.

 (cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)

The Utah League of Women Voters has issued this call to action regarding the Snake Valley Water Agreement:
League Members:
The League has been informed that Governor Herbert plans to sign the agreement on Snake Valley before the end of the week.
One of our priorities this year is: “Oppose Snake Valley water transfers to Nevada”.
I would urge each of you to send an email to the Governor citing the League’s priority as a member of the League or even better with your own version as an individual.
You can contact the Governor through his website. Go to
and Click on CONTACT.
Read more about the Snake Valley Water Agreement:


What is your water footprint?

Did you know that it takes approximately 2,000 gallons of water to produce 1 lb. of beef?  According to Water Footprint, a new website that measures the footprint of water used by us on our planet.

People use lots of water for drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as food, paper, cotton clothes, etc. The water footprint is an indicator of water use that looks at both direct and indirect water use of a consumer or producer. The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business.

Here are some facts and figures listed on the website:

  • The production of one kilogram of beef requires 16 thousand litres of water.
  • To produce one cup of coffee we need 140 litres of water.
  • The water footprint of China is about 700 cubic meter per year per capita. Only about 7% of the Chinese water footprint falls outside China.
  • Japan with a footprint of 1150 cubic meter per year per capita, has about 65% of its total water footprint outside the borders of the country.
  • The USA water footprint is 2500 cubic meter per year per capita.


This website has published case studies and other publications, national and coporate water footprints and a footprint calculator to measure your own personal water footprint.

I calculated my personal footprint with these results based on my gender, my diet (vegetarian) and my annual income, using the quick and dirty calculator:

Your water footprint = 578 in cubic meter per year

Components of your total water footprint and comparison to the global average






Global Yours Food Industry Domestic


Contribution of individual food categories to your total water footprint







Cereal Meat Vegetable Fruit Dairy Others*


You can also use the extended calculator which is a more detailed picture based on your consumption.  Here are my results:

Your total water footprint = 225 cubic meter per year

Components of your total water footprint





Food Domestic Industrial Total
Contribution of individual food category towards the total water footprint











cereal meat vegetable fruit dairy Stimulant Fat sugar egg Others

US Mayors Agree to Phase Out Bottled Water

[Salt Lake City Mayor] Rocky [Anderson] targets waste of bottled water


Posted December 18, 2006 in [Water]

Doug Smeath – Deseret Morning News 

Rocky Anderson is taking his fight for a more eco-friendly Salt Lake City to a new enemy: bottled water.

In a letter sent to members of his cabinet last month, the mayor asked that departments stop handing out bottled water at meetings and interoffice events.
The letter does not rise to the level of an executive order or a new policy. Rather, it asks for voluntary cooperation.

“The environmental impacts surrounding the production, shipment and disposal of bottled water do not fit within the city’s goal to conduct itself in an environmentally sustainable way,” Anderson wrote.

According to his letter, more than 1.5 million barrels of oil are used to produce the plastic bottles for individual-serving water each year. A number of environmental Web sites corroborate that figure.

“Add to that the tremendous amount of fuel needed to transport it from the bottling line to the store shelf, and it is clear why bottled water has been described as the most inefficient method for transporting water in human history,” he wrote.

He cited a study by the Container Recycling Institute reporting that eight of 10 plastic water bottles end up in landfills rather than being recycled. There is no reason to use bottled water, Anderson wrote, in places like Salt Lake, where tap water is safe and clean.

Not to mention cheaper. Anderson’s letter estimates water is up to 10,000 times costlier when delivered by bottle rather than by tap.

The letter encouraged department heads to invest in water pitchers and reusable cups so that staff members can easily drink tap water in meetings. E-mail: dsmeath@desnews.com

There is a site called Knock Out Bottled Water  where you can see businesses in Salt Lake City that have pledged to not sell those products, has a page of resources, and links to Think Outside the Bottle.

Additionally, you can take the Individual Knockout Bottled Water Pledge

Kudos to Mayors across the U.S. who are taking action on phasing out bottled water in their cities:

Published on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 by Agence France Presse

US Mayors Agree to Phase Out Bottled Water


The US Conference of Mayors on Monday passed a resolution calling for a phasing out of bottled water by municipalities and promoting the importance of public water supplies.0625 02 1 2

The vote comes amid increasing environmental concerns about the use of bottled water because of its use of plastic and energy costs to transport drinking supplies.

The mayors, meeting in Miami, approved a resolution proposed by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom along with 17 other large-city mayors to redirect taxpayer dollars from bottled water to other city services.

“Cities are sending the wrong message about the quality of public water when we spend taxpayer dollars on water in disposable containers from a private corporation,” said Newsom.

“Our public water systems are among the best in the world and demand significant and ongoing investment.”

According to the activist group Think Outside the Bottle, more than 60 mayors in the United States have already canceled bottled water contracts.

“It’s just plain common sense for cities to stop padding the bottled water industry’s bottom line at taxpayer expense,” said Gigi Kellett, national director of the Think Outside the Bottle campaign.

“This resolution will send the strong message that opting for tap over bottled water is what’s best for our environment, our pocketbooks and our long-term, equitable access to our most essential resource.”

The American Beverage Associations called the resolution “tainted with hypocrisies and inaccuracies.”

“While some mayors oppose the use of bottled water by city governments, most mayors across America gladly welcome bottled water when disaster strikes,” the industry group said in a statement.

“Our beverage companies continually come to the aid of communities ravaged by floods, fires, hurricanes, other natural disasters and compromised municipal water systems.”

The group said plastic water bottles “are 100 percent recyclable, making bottled water one of the few fully recyclable consumer goods.”

© 2008 Agence France Presse