- Associated Press - Saturday, April 29, 2017

OGDEN, Utah (AP) - Utah officials have released data on water use after a lengthy public records battle with a grassroots conservation organization.

The Utah Division of Water Resources published the 2015 data it collected on hundreds of water providers with Utah Division of Water on its website Tuesday, the Standard-Examiner reported (https://bit.ly/2psrL6P).

The Utah Rivers Council began requesting the release of the data in 2016. The request came after a 2015 state audit determined that division officials did not have an accurate sense of how much water Utah residents were using. The audit also cited significant inaccuracies in the data. The division normally releases the data it collects every five years.

“We’re psyched they built a website for it. We want everyone to see it. Transparency is in everybody’s interest,” said Zack Frankel with the Utah Rivers Council. “There’s so much data in there, it’s going to take us a while to review it.”

The council says the agency might have specifically highlighted data that supported the Bear River Project and the Lake Powell Pipeline. The projected price of the proposals is around $2.5 billion. Division Director Eric Millis said the agency would only make changes to data when it sees obvious problems.

Along with the data, the Utah Division of Water Rights posted a summary that commented on the difficulties in collecting the data. Some water providers used the wrong units when they reported the gallons used or incorrectly categorized water use, according to the summary.

The division worked with 269 of the water providers to address the inaccuracies, Millis said.

“They’re very important numbers. We’re anxious and interested in making sure they’re as correct as they can be,” he said. “We understand the data-gathering process isn’t perfect. We’re working with water suppliers, and I think the suppliers are responding.”

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Information from: Standard-Examiner, https://www.standard.net


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