Letter to the Editor: The Iron County Water Conservancy District’s plan to drain desert valleys is reprehensible

Stock image | Photo by Angelo D'Amico/iStock/Getty Images Plus

LETTER TO THE EDITOR — In 1896 Wilford Wintch was taken out of the 8th grade, in Manti, Utah, to become the manager of his father’s livestock business. He rode the train to what is now the ghost town of Newhouse in western Beaver county. Wilford loved his work and loved the desert. Just prior to the creation of the Bureau of Land Management, during the Great Depression, Wilford made a large gamble and purchased the Wah Wah Springs and Ranch. The business that he created is owned and operated by his family as it has been for over 120 years. I am Wilford’s great grandson, Mark Wintch.

Our operation has survived many challenges during its existence such as drought, market crashes and terrible interest rates of the 1980’s. The heart of our ranch is our natural free-flowing spring. The Wah Wah springs produce enough water to operate a hydroelectric plant that was put into operation in 1988 which has supplied electricity to the ranch all these years. We were green long before that was even a movement. The water is really what was purchased all those years ago because water is the real gold of the west.

Knowing the true value of water, I find it appalling that the citizens of Iron County, specifically Cedar City, would participate in the destruction of the few springs that are in western Beaver County in hopes of growing their community. The plan to drain desert valleys of what little water they have is reprehensible.

Water in the state of Utah is currently overallocated, as evidenced by the fissures in the Cedar and Enterprise valleys. One remedy is that the communities that live in the desert, that are already short of water resources, begin major water conservation programs.

The Iron County Water Conservancy District should be making plans using the water in their own water district for their communities, not stealing water from other districts to satisfy their needs. Ultimately, the fact is that the district is willing to gamble on destroying pristine desert valleys, destroying a business that’s been around for 120 years and destroying a fragile ecosystem so that all the citizens in the Cedar valley can have a lawn in their front yard. Where are the environmentalists in these communities? Are they too busy playing golf, on a green course, using water that came from a desert valley that only receives 6.5 inches of rainfall a year? It’s time that the Iron County Water Conservancy District be looked at as an environmental enemy, not just another water district.

We all watched as Las Vegas tried to steal the water out of Snake Valley, which is only one valley away from Pine Valley and two from Wah Wah Valley. Fortunately, Las Vegas lost and the communities of Baker, Nevada, and Garrison, Utah, still have water. What is the difference between Las Vegas stealing Snake Valley water and Cedar City stealing Pine Valley, Hamblin Valley and Wah Wah Valley water? I thought you were a better community than this behavior exemplifies.

Submitted by MARK WINTCH, Beaver County.

Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or news contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them. They do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!