Six local dams need dam safety upgrades, funding is limited

Six reservoirs in San Juan County are listed as having a high-hazard rating by the Utah Division of Water Rights. They join more than 200 reservoirs across the state of Utah with the same rating.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has allocated $7.2 million to rehabilitate high-hazard dams in Utah, but the funds will not begin to cover the need..
The high hazard reservoirs in San Juan County include the Blanding Third and Fourth Reservoirs, Starvation, and Recapture Reservoir in the Blanding area, Loyds Lake near Monticello, and Kens Lake in Spanish Valley.
With more than 200 reservoirs on the high-hazard list, it is unclear if the funding will be use on the local dams.
“Aging dam infrastructure and the requirement to meet the minimum dam safety standards make this initial award a welcome sight,” said Candice Hasenyager, director of the Division of Water Resources. “Dam improvements are imperative to the safety of Utahns, and they are also costly. We are grateful for FEMA’s support.”
The Utah Division of Water Resources and the Utah Division of Water Rights (which encompasses the Office of the State Engineer) work together to identify high-hazard dams, prioritize needs with dam owners, and pursue potential funding sources.  
“This funding will be put to great use in helping address the minimum safety standards on dams across the state,” said Utah State Engineer Teresa Wilhelmsen, who is also the director of Water Rights. “We work directly with dam owners to perform annual inspections, to provide consulting, and to oversee repairs, maintenance and construction. Funding for dam safety is always a top concern for everyone involved.” 
For more information, view the Division of Water Resources dam safety web page, or for detailed information about state dams, safety ratings, inspection records or emergency plans, visit the Division of Water Rights dam safety database.

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