August 22, 2020
Washington, DC — Congressman John Curtis (R-UT) led a letter, endorsed by the entire Utah Delegation, to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging support for the Provo River Water Users Association’s application for loan assistance from the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program.
“Deer Creek Reservoir is vital to Utah’s economy, both for water supply and for recreation. These infrastructure updates are critical to providing Utahns with the most vital of resources. We urge your full consideration to the letter of interest submitted by PRWUA seeking loan funds under the WIFIA program for the Deer Creek Raw Water Intake Project.”
The full text of the letter is below:
The Honorable Andrew Wheeler
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Administrator Wheeler,
We are writing to urge your full and fair consideration for the Provo River Water Users Association’s (PRWUA) request for loan assistance under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program for the Deer Creek Raw Water Intake Project.
Since the first settlers arrived in the Provo area in the mid 1800’s, water has been diverted from mountain streams for irrigation. As growth continued into the 1930’s, it became apparent that additional water from adjacent drainages would be essential to assure an adequate supply of water to the irrigated area and to facilitate future growth. To take care of the growing need for water, the City of Provo, and five other Utah County communities that needed additional domestic water supplies, joined with Salt Lake City and irrigation interests to sponsor the Provo River Project. The key feature of the Provo River Project is the Deer Creek Dam.
After nearly 80 years of operation, the Deer Creek Dam is in significant need of infrastructure improvements. The intake and guard gates have reached the end of their useful life. With difficult accessibility and a lack of manufacturer parts, there is no simple way to perform maintenance or to repair or replace the gates if they fail. Deer Creek Reservoir supplies water to nearly half of Utah’s population and is also faced with the imminent threat of invasive species that could limit the ability to deliver water to downstream users using the current infrastructure. These concerns present a significant challenge to preserving the functionality of the Deer Creek Dam and therefore, the Deer Creek Raw Water Intake Project is vital.
The proposed infrastructure replacement for the Deer Creek Raw Water Intake Project that the WIFIA funds would be used for includes construction of a selective-level intake and rehabilitation, or replacement, of the high-pressure guard gates. These new features would be equipped with state-of-the-art defense mechanisms against aquatic invasive species, provide improved and consistent water quality for downstream users, and extend the life of the Deer Creek Dam outlet works.
Along with the replacement or rehabilitation of the 80-year-old intake and guard gates, the Deer Creek Raw Water Intake Project will also provide safeguards against a quagga mussel infestation and the associated negative effects on critical infrastructure. The reservoir is a popular recreation site for activities such as boating, fishing, sailing, swimming, windsurfing, and camping. Deer Creek Reservoir is vital to Utah’s economy, both for water supply and for recreation.
These infrastructure updates are critical to providing Utahns with the most vital of resources. We urge your full consideration to the letter of interest submitted by PRWUA seeking loan funds under the WIFIA program for the Deer Creek Raw Water Intake Project. Thank you very much for your consideration.
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