Introduction – Emigration Canyon Water Litigation

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 is completely depleted 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.

Emigration Improvement District’s (“EID” aka ECID) own hydrologist Jack Barnett 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 operation of the active federal military cemetery deeded to the Mount Olivet Cemetary Association by the United States Congress in 1874.

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 via EID’s operation of four (4) large-diameter commercial wells through a water extraction method known as groundwater mining.

The ECHO-Association estimates that the water table in Emigration Canyon has dropped 40 feet in the past 30 years drastically affecting artesian pressure and drinking-water quality.

Financial records reveal that EID has promised future water service to 97 vacant parcels.

In order to protect The ECHO-Association surface water right 57-8947 located on the Emigration Canyon Stream, we have filed legal action in the Utah State Third District Court, Protest with the Utah State Engineer Kent L. Jones and joined United States Attorney General William P. Barr to prevent EID from issuing over 500 water letters for new construction in the Canyon.