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Water

See below for details on these topics.
 
Water Rights About water rights; how to get a well permit.
Watershed/Aquifer Protection Town efforts to protect our Sole Source Aquifer.
Utah Geologic Survey Biannual Monitoring Results Results of ongoing monitoring.
Water Studies and Data Links to water studies.

addy icon Key Contact Town Water Agent

Water topics, click to expand

The Town of Castle Valley owns four large water rights, whose priority dates range from 1962 to 1968. The Town uses a Water Use Agreement and Permit to make allocations of those rights available to lot owners who want to drill wells and use water for domestic, irrigation, and stock watering purposes.  The unused portions of Town water rights are maintained for the future needs of the Town.  

The Water Use Agreement and Permit (“WUAP”) does not create a separate water right for an individual lot or for a lot owner. It allows a lot owner to use a specified amount of Town water rights on his/her lot. A lot owner can request an amendment to the WUAP if water uses on the lot change and more water is needed. Unless revoked or voided for cause, the WUAP and any amendments pass automatically with the lot when it is transferred to a new owner. Contact the Town Water Agent for further information or to obtain a WUAP for a Town lot.

The Town believes that with proper management there should be sufficient water rights for development of all the platted lots in the Town, but cannot guarantee that this will hold true in the future if there are significant climatic changes and/or changes to Utah statutes governing water and water rights.     

The Town of Castle Valley is designated by the State of Utah as a Public Water Supplier. As such, the Town must be diligent in allocating and monitoring the use of its water rights. Administration of Town water rights is governed by Ordinance 2017-1, generally referred to as the “Water Use Ordinance”.

Application forms & information—contact Town Water Agent
[Water Use Agreement and Permit]
Water Use Accounting Form
[Water Use Accounting Form Instructions]
The boundaries of the Castle Valley watershed were defined by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency in 2001 (see Watershed Map) when it declared the watershed to be a Sole Source Aquifer. This is a fairly rare distinction (to date, Castle Valley is the only area with a dispersed well distribution system to receive such a designation) that is given to aquifers that are known to be the sole source of water for inhabited areas, without any viable alternative. Widespread contamination of such an aquifer would create immediate health and safety issues, and would essentially end the availability of water to people living in the watershed.

 In 1996, the Town passed a Watershed Protection Ordinance. The Town is committed to working with private landowners, agencies, and authorities that own property in the Town's watershed to protect water quality and quantity. In 2006, in cooperation with the Utah Geological Survey, the Town drilled six wells at specified locations around the valley, and has since done twice yearly sampling of those wells to monitor water quality and check for contaminants. In addition, there has been regular sampling of Castle Creek by the Utah Department of Water Quality. The Town will continue to be vigilant in protecting the health of its aquifer, and will invoke the authority of the Sole Source Aquifer designation whenever necessary. 

The quality of water available on Town lots can vary widely. The source of well water for lots is either the valley-fill aquifer or, for lots closer to Porcupine Rim, the Cutler Formation aquifer. The latter tends to produce water with significantly more dissolved solids. The Cutler Formation water merges with the valley-fill water as it move down the valley, increasing the quantity of dissolved solids in the water in the lower end of the valley. The Utah Division of Water Quality has rated the water quality in Castle Valley based on a classification system focused primarily on total dissolved solids (see Water Classification Map).

 In 2018, the Town funded a comprehensive study to determine the capacity of the aquifer, i.e. how much can be withdrawn annually from the aquifer without depletion (see “HHS Study” below). Other studies of lesser scope have been done in the past (see below). Overall, the Town’s “water budget” is better understood than it once was, but more work is needed to refine it, particularly with the looming effects of climate change. That work is ongoing. 
There has been quite a bit of research done on the Castle Valley aquifer (engineers and scientists like to hang out here), resulting in a number of reports and publications, listed below.  In many cases the data is test-site-specific and is used to gain a general understanding of the Castle Valley aquifer and its hydrology. Data may not be representative of any individual well. To learn about the water from any particular well, a sample of that water should be tested by a qualified testing service. General information on drinking water standards is available from the EPA or the Utah Department of Water Quality.

HESA Report Part 1 
HESA Study Powerpoint
HESA Study Part 2 (2020)
HESA Study Part 2 Supplement—Siting a Town Culinary Well (2016)
HESA Study Supplement—Groundwater Leaving Castle Valley (2016)
HESA Study Supplement—Preliminary Water Balance (2016)