Seven Quick Thoughts on Groundwater Replenishment

Today I spoke at the Utah County Commissioners’ Meeting and then sent this email to Brian Voeks, the admin for Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee, and asked he forward these follow-up thoughts to commissioners Bill Lee, Nathan Ivie and Greg Graves:

Commissioner Ivie was concerned this morning that if we stopped flood irrigating our county groundwater may not replenish.

1. I agree—Let’s not eliminate flood irrigation; instead, let’s eliminate the irrigation and landscaping water share requirements for new subdivisions, promote dry farming and let citizens increase county farm production.

Some additional thoughts to consider:

2. Spanish Fork still averages 18 inches of rainfall per year regardless of whether farmers flood irrigate.

3. Mountain waters will still flow to the valleys’ lakes.

4. Leach fields also replenish groundwater: Given the Utah state average of 3.63 persons per household, that’s 290 to 363 gallons dispersed daily by private wastewater treatment systems.

5. Government water share requirements have virtually eliminated discussions on dry farming, crushed farming competition and squashed innovation.

6. Salt and minerals will eventually destroy all county farmland that repeatedly flood irrigates.

7. A median household income of $64,321 qualifies families for a trailer in Utah County cities, not a home; therefore, better use of water and county lands are required for the forecasted population growth. See my calculations below.

Bill Lee and I agree that we like to see green farmland. Sometimes I incorrectly look down upon on county residents without green pastures; however, we as a people may be more likely to win the approbation of heaven if we enable more families to settle in lands outside of incorporated cities.

Calculations:
Play with this form with a mortgage rate of 4.7% APR and see what you can afford.
https://www.redfin.com/how-much-house-can-i-afford

Example:
Location: 84604
Annual Household Income: $64,321
Monthly Spending: $1,000
Loan Type: 30-Year Fixed
APR: 4.7%
Annual Property Tax for Provo is 1.75%

Recommended Price: $114,425
Recommended Maximum Price $178,900

That buys you a trailer home.

References
1. Dry Farming by Dr. John A. Widtsoe

2. Salt Is Turning Farmland Into Wasteland Around the World Much like a salt-heavy diet will eventually kill people, it will also kill the environment.

3. How much water does the average person use at home per day?

4. Census facts for Utah County

5. How much house can I afford?

by Robert John Stevens, April 10, 2018

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