CEDAR CITY – County officials may be voting Monday regarding the influx of tourists to Kanarraville Falls that threaten the nearby town’s water supply.
The agenda for the Iron County Commission meeting lists the item for discussion and possible action.
Iron County Commissioner Dale Brinkerhoff said he believes the council wants to discuss the issues the town is currently facing regarding the falls. However, he is not aware of any pending action the commission is considering.
“The council just wants to talk about the problems and possible solutions to those problems,” Brinkerhoff said.
Kanarra Creek, which forms the falls, provides water to Kanarraville’s 355 residents year-round. Officials say that water supply is now at risk due to increasing visitation to the site.
Town officials estimate that 3,000 people visited the area in three days over Labor Day weekend 2016. The number of annual visitors is 40,000, according to a Bureau of Land Management environmental assessment published the same year.
“The town would be remiss in their duties if they did not take steps to protect the valuable resource,” Kanarraville Town Clerk David Ence told St. George News in April.
Town officials are concerned about the number of visitors going into that area where there are currently no toilets, increasing the chance of E. coli contamination in the water.
“It’s not the hikers themselves, it’s, you know, the pee and the poop,” Ence said.
While testing has not shown the water to be contaminated, it doesn’t stop council members from worrying.
“But once you’ve tested positive for those kinds of things, it’s too late,” Ence said.
Still, officials do not plan on installing any toilets in the near future but rather want to rely on education.
The trail to the falls starts in Kanarraville, next to a parking lot owned by the town. The charge for users is $10. However, Brinkerhoff said the money taken in by the town is not covering the costs of the water issues.
“They (council) figure that the town is getting about $7,500 from parking costs but they say it’s costing them more money on the water lines and the water issues than they’re currently making,” Brinkerhoff said.
The trail to the falls was closed in April for maintenance of the pipeline built in 1934 that still supplies the town’s water.
The public is welcome to attend the commission meeting Monday slated for 10 a.m. at the Parowan City Council Chambers located in Parowan at 35 E. 100 North.
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