Kane County Water Conservancy District is proposing to build a $30 million reservoir. Water would be diverted from the East Fork of the Virgin River.
Keep Kanab Unspoiled collaborated with other organizations to oppose this misguided project because it will permanently change the flow of the East Fork Virgin River. Just downstream from the reservoir site, the East Fork enters Zion National Park. This section of the river is designated as a Wild river under the Wild and Scenic River Act.
Keep Kanab Unspoiled submitted comments on the Environmental Assessment for Cove Reservoir. The draft Environmental Assessment grossly exaggerated Cove Reservoir’s benefits to alfalfa farmers and Kane County residents. The Environmental Assessment did not even include a data analysis, but instead relied on 3 vaguely worded emails.
Only a small share of the reservoir water would actually benefit farmers in Kane County. Most of the water would go to Washington County. However, most of the alfalfa fields in Washington County, that the U.S. Department of Agriculture identified, have already been sold for residential and commercial development. Likely the water would be used for municipal and industrial (M&I) purposes in Washington County, not agriculture.
500 public comments were submitted on Cove Reservoir. The U.S. Department of Agriculture withdrew the Environmental Assessment in January 2021.
10 REASONS TO OPPOSE COVE RESERVOIR
If built, Cove Reservoir will:
1. Permanently change the flow of the East Fork Virgin River.
2. Harm fish and plant habitats in Parunuweap Canyon in Zion National Park. This section of the river is designated as Wild under the wild and scenic rivers act.
3. Result in 200 acre-ft of water being lost every year due to evaporation.
4. Cost $30 million.
The Environmental Assessment:
5. Grossly exaggerates Cove Reservoir’s benefits to alfalfa farmers and Kane County residents.
6. Fails to show that Kane County needs another reservoir.
7. Fails to show the water rights and the wet water are there to fill the reservoir.
8. Should do a crop analysis rather than rely on 3 emails.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service:
9. Should put restrictions on industrial uses of the water.
10. Should not fast track the approval in the last days of the Trump administration.
More information about Cove Reservoir:
Cove Reservoir Watershed (Sponsor = Kane Co. Water Conservancy District), project description