Central Utah Project Timeline


A group of fur traders were the first to develop drinking and irrigation water in central Utah when they established the Fort Ashley trading post along the Provo River near Utah Lake.
The first agricultural water diversions in the Salt Lake Valley occurred in July 1847, when Mormon pioneers arrived in the valley and diverted water from City Creek.
Congress enacted the Newlands Reclamation Act, creating the U.S. Reclamation Service to plan and construct water resources development projects throughout the 17 western states.
Construction begins on the first federal water project in Utah, the Strawberry Valley Project. The first water is delivered by the project to Utah farmers in 1915.
The Colorado River Compact was negotiated by Colorado River Basin states, creating the Upper and Lower basins, and providing 50 percent of Colorado River’s water to each basin. It also allocated water for Mexico.
The Colorado River-Great Basin Project was proposed to deliver one million acre-feet of water annually from the Green River in eastern Utah to the populous Wasatch Front.
The Central Utah Project was proposed as an extended version of the Colorado River-Great Basin Project and included five units: Bonneville Unit, Jensen Unit, Vernal Unit, Upalco Unit, and the Ute Indian Unit.
The Bureau of Reclamation established the Central Utah Project Office in Springville, Utah, to oversee the project.
The Upper Colorado River Basin Compact is negotiated among five upper Colorado River Basin states including Utah. Under this agreement Utah is allocated the right to develop/deplete 23 percent of the upper basin allotment of Colorado River water, or 1.73 million acre-feet.
The first feasibility report for the Central Utah Project containing further refinements and modifications was released and served as the basis for authorizing the initial phase of the CUP in 1956.
The Colorado River Storage Project Act (Public Law 485, 70 Stat. 105) was enacted authorizing four Colorado River main-stem reservoirs and 11 participating projects including the Central Utah Project.
The first Definite Plan Report for the CUP is released containing modifications that reduced trans-basin diversions and reformulated the CUP into two phases: the Initial Phase (Bonneville, Jensen, Vernal, and Upalco units) and the Ultimate Phase (Uintah and Ute Indian units). On March 2, 1964, the Central Utah Water Conservancy District was established by state law to be the local sponsor for the CUP under contract to the federal government.
A deferral agreement was executed among the federal government, Ute Indian Tribe, and CUWCD in which tribal water rights were made available to the CUP for the Bonneville Unit. In addition, a repayment contract for reimbursable costs of the CUP was executed between the United States and the CUWCD.
The Vernal Unit of the CUP completed.
Groundbreaking for the Bonneville Unit occurred on May 31, 1967.
The Uinta Unit was authorized by Congress as part of the CUP with enactment of the Colorado River Basin Project Act (P.L. 90-537).
The National Environmental Policy Act was enacted by Congress requiring the preparation of environmental impact statements for all federal actions that significantly affect the human environment. Reclamation began preparing an EIS on the CUP.
Reclamation completed the first EIS on the Bonneville Unit of the CUP which included a commitment to develop subsequent EIS’s to address the impacts of individual systems of the Bonneville Unit. EISs for the Diamond Fork Power System and Municipal and Industrial System followed.
The administration proposed cancelation of the CUP due to the cost and environmental impacts, however it was approved for continued federal funding.
The Jensen Unit of the CUP was completed. An in-stream flow agreement was executed in February to protect the aquatic ecosystem in streams affected by the Strawberry Aqueduct and CUP collection system by providing minimum stream flow requirements. All planning work ended on the Ute Indian Unit following completion of a concluding report.
Reclamation prepared a Supplement to the Definite Plan Report to address refinements made to the Bonneville Unit since 1964 including further reductions in trans-basin diversions.
Congress enacted CUPCA (P.L. 102-575) on October 30, 1992, providing policy guidance and direction for completing the CUP including transferring all construction responsibilities from Reclamation to the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, while retaining federal oversight. The Ute Indian Unit was de-authorized by CUPCA.
The CUWCD began reformulation of the original Uinta and Upalco Units to develop Ute Indian and non-Indian water resources in the Uinta Basin including two irrigation reservoirs, feeder pipelines, and association diversion works. Construction of Jordanelle Dam, the central component of the Bonneville Unit Municipal and Industrial System was completed and initial filling of the reservoir began.
The Ute Indian Tribe filed a formal objection to the reformulated Uinta and Upalco Units of the CUP and all planning work on the units ended. The Uinta Basin Replacement Project, authorized by CUPCA in 1992 as a contingent plan to develop non-Indian water in the basin, proceeded through planning and was ultimately approved for construction. The Spanish Fork Canyon-Nephi water delivery plan to provide agricultural irrigation to south-central Utah was identified in a draft EIS, but was abandoned following objections by CUP project partner Strawberry Water Users Association.
Construction began on the final reaches of the Diamond Fork System. Planning began on an alternative plan for completion of the Bonneville Unit to be called the Utah Lake Drainage Basin Water Delivery System or ULS.
A final EIS for the Utah Lake Drainage Basin Water Delivery System was approved and the record of decision was signed by the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science on December 22. The Diamond Fork System was completed linking the entire Bonneville Unit.
A Supplement to the 1988 Definite PlanReport for the Bonneville Unit was approved which endorsed the plan for delivery of 101,900 acre-feet of water per year from Strawberry Reservoir to the Wasatch Front. The Department of the Interior and the lessees executed a lease agreement with CUWCD and Heber Power and Light Company for the private development of hydropower at Jordanelle Dam. Construction began in late 2006 and the power plant became operational by summer of 2008.
Uinta Basin Replacement Project, consisting primarily of enlargement of the existing Big Sand Wash Reservoir and construction of the Big Sand Wash Diversion and Feeder Pipeline, was completed. A municipal pipeline from Big Sand Wash Reservoir to the city of Roosevelt, Utah, is still under construction.

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