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Adam Fondren, KSL, File

Utah may have a new constitutional amendment on cities’ supply of water

By Amy Joi O'Donoghue, KSL | Posted - Feb. 3, 2020 at 3:56 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — Before Utah was even a state, the city of Ogden bartered away its water rights, leading to a constitutional amendment in 1896 that sought to stop that from ever happening again.

Utah lawmakers are now weighing modifying that provision to further define what set of rules cities must play by, particularly those that provide water to users outside of their municipal boundaries.

The Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee on Monday unanimously endorsed HJR003 by Rep. Keven Stratton, R-Orem, a measure that has been years in the making.

“It has been a long process. It’s been uncomfortable,” Stratton told the committee. “This is not a small thing to amend the constitution.”

The resolution grew out of uncertainty over the security of the water supply when a city delivers water for users outside its boundaries.

There are about 50 such cities in Utah.

Cities must define service boundaries for water and also abide by reasonable pricing under water reform laws.

“It is the right step to make considering where we are as a state, with potential scarcity of water in the future,” he said.

It now goes to the full Senate.

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