Report: Ground sinking around Cedar City

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ENOCH -- Giant cracks running through an Iron County subdivision are the result of drawing too much water from the ground, according to a new state report.

The Utah Geological Survey released its report Monday after several years of research into the growing fissures.

The fissures first appeared in 2009, and when geologists started studying them, it was the first time fissures had been seen in an urban setting.

UGS project biologist Tyler Knudsen said up until then fissured had only been found in rural areas of the state.

“As farmers, the municipalities have all sunk wells into the valley, and started withdrawing water, the water table valley has lowered -- in some cases up to about 100 feet,” Knudsen said.

Knudsen said they’ve located close to eight miles of fissures throughout the Cedar Valley, and estimate the valley floor has been continually sinking since the 1930s.

Geologists estimate the Enoch fissure is moving at a rate of about 2 inches every year, and that it will keep on moving until those water issues are addressed.

The city of Enoch provides its own water to residents. City officials say the issue is something they’re already starting to look at, but they’re not the only ones drawing from the ground water, so it’ll take some coordination.

“We’re working together to actually come up with solutions that have been identified by this study,” said Enoch City Manger Rob Dotson. “And also solutions we can come up with to solve other problems.”

The Utah Geological Survey report offers solutions to prevent future fissures.

Among those importing water from other sources, allowing for recharging of the aquifer… and evening out the displacement. Central Iron County Water District executive director Paul Monroe said they have preliminary plans in place to address those concerns.

The full report can be found on the UGS website at http://geology.utah.gov/whatsnew/news/new0314b.htm.

9 comments

  • Don

    Is the Iron Mine CML still using Cedar City’s water? How much were they using? Did they pay for it:? If not why not? Nobdy seem to want to talk about their use of the water. Do a story on this? People want to know?

    • MQB3

      While you’re at it, inquire as to how many area residents have earned a living from the Mine over the years, and how much money it has put into the local economy.

      Oh, wait…..that was a heretical thought. My bad.

  • Hunter

    This story is not true. Local surveyors have hundreds of control points around the valley and none have moved more than a hundredth of an inch up or down in 2 decades. Please find real news to report.

  • Don

    MOB3l I just heard that they laid all the employees off, all 35 of them. Maybe they’ll help with the number it has helped. BUT how many has it hurt, using millions of gallons of water a day — Cedar City’s water. I really would like to see someone do a piece on this, if they are not afraid to or maybe they were told not to do it? How about it?

    • concernedforEnoch

      Yes, I would certainly like to know who knew what and when. Many people may have made different choices on their home location.

  • Enviro Equipment, Inc.

    As they are finding out in drought stricken California right now, there are consequences to unrestrained pumping of groundwater, Irregardless whether it’s for the purpose of agriculture, mining or private use.

    Hopefully the example Cedar City set here will be used by other municipalities to invest a modicum of money in monitoring the groundwater levels of its drinking water supply.

  • concernedforEnoch

    Will their “plans” come at the cost of homeowners loosing their homes in the Legacy Estates subdivision?

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