Introduction – Emigration Canyon Water Litigation



 – Utah Court of Appeals –


Utah State Third District Court Judge Laura Scott –


Hearing Utah State Division of Water Rights – The ECHO-Association Presentation


For the first time since the the Mormon Pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley over 170 years ago, it was reported in September 2018 that the Emigration Canyon Stream suffered total depleation near the eastern boundary of the state capital city less than 2 miles from Utah’s Hogle Zoo.

Over the past 30 years, Emigration Canyon residents have documented impairment of private wells directly to the Utah State Division of Water Rights (“Utah State Engineer“) immediately following construction of Boyer Well Nr. 1 (1987), Boyer Well Nr. 2 (1994), the Brigham Fork (2003), and the Upper Freeze Creek Wells (2013) by The Boyer Company LC and Emigration Improvement District (“EID” aka ECID).

The destruction of single-family domestic wells by the large-diameter commercial wells currently operated by EID was accurately predicted by the Utah State Engineer’s Office in 1966.

EID’s own hydrologist Jack Arnold Barnett further testified in December 1995 that it will “take decades — twenty, fifty, seventy-five years” for water treated in the luxurious Emigration Oaks development to recharge the Canyon Stream needed for the replenishment of private wells located nearby to include the operation of the active federal military cemetery deeded to the Mount Olivet Cemetery Association by the United States Congress in 1909.

Contrary to EID’s repeated denials, in December 2018, The ECHO-Association acquired sufficient evidence that EID, the Mayor of Emigration Canyon Joseph Smolka, The Boyer Company L.C. and City Development Inc. have willfully impaired more than forty (40) private wells and the Emigration Canyon Steam by exceeding the natural recharge rate of the Canyon’s Twin Creek Aquifer through a water extraction method known as groundwater mining.

The ECHO-Association estimates that the water table in Emigration Canyon has dropped 40 – 120 feet in the past 30 years drastically affecting private wells,  drinking-water qualitysurface water springs and Canyon vegetation.

Although there are currently over 750 acres listed for sale in Emigration Canyon under MLS Nrs. 1531520,  1531527,  1531802,  15788891500208 and 1617298Utah Open Lands recently expended $700,000.00 (including $250,000.00 in public funds from Salt Lake Country taxpayers) to save 4.6 acres of the Owl Meadow from undisclosed private land-developers

Financial records however reveal that EID Trustee Chairman Michael Scott Hughes promised future water service to at least 97 vacant parcels including private land-developers and “EID Advisory Committee Members” R. Steve Creamer and Walter J. Plumb IIISteve Hook to include EID contractor Bill Cutting.

Moreoever, despite overwhelming evidence of groundwater mining of Emigration Canyon aquifers, and the destructive effects documented in Alicante, Spaincentral and western United States and Cedar Valley, Utah, Utah State Engineer Kent L. Jones recently approved EID’s proposal to  construct over 500 additional homes in Emigration Canyon contrary to EID’s own buildout limit established in 1996.