The Smithfield City Council voted to approve a drought resiliency plan from J-U-B Engineers on Wednesday.
Weston Bellon, an engineer from J-U-B, presented the plan and reminded the council of the situation northern Utah is facing.
Most of Utah is currently in the highest level of drought, exceptional drought. Cache Valley and most of Northern Utah is in extreme drought.
Bellon said the current situation is not unique, and that it would be beneficial to have a plan for water conservation and drought measures in the future.
“It’s good to think about it and be prepared, and it could potentially get worse, the situation we’re in,” he said.
The “master plan” has four main goals: document the drought-monitoring process, evaluate potential drought vulnerabilities and associated risks, identify key mitigation actions, and assess and prioritize mitigation actions.
Bellon said the vulnerabilities that Cache Valley are facing are lack of water storage, fire flow deficiency, reduced snowpack and lack of public awareness.
The plan includes several actions: building a 3 million-gallon water tank, a secondary water system expansion, replacing the 12-inch spring collections in Smithfield Canyon, creating a conservation plan, and building additional wells.
Bellon said the city would have the opportunity to seek funding for these projects.
Of all of the actions, Bellon said he would put the 3 million-gallon water tank at the top of the list priority-wise.
After Bellon’s presentation, Council Member Curtis Wall called the plan “awesome” and said he wanted to include some of the information in city newsletters to start educating the community.
“I can’t see any reason we wouldn’t adopt what they have here,” Wall said. “I really can’t see anything that would keep me from passing that and putting it in effect.”
The council voted unanimously to approve and adopt the drought resiliency plan.
According to the Utah Department of Natural Resources, reservoir storage statewide continues to drop and now averages 58%. Twenty-six of Utah’s largest 42 reservoirs remain below 55% of available capacity. While it’s not a water source, the elevation of the Great Salt Lake is hovering between 2.5 to 3 inches from its historic low recorded in 1963.