Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Fixing one word in Utah canal pact requires an act of Congress

Bureaucracy » A canal by any other name is a ‘water conveyance facility.’

First Published Dec 03 2013 02:29 pm • Last Updated Dec 03 2013 09:00 pm

Washington • Don’t call it a canal, even though it was for years.

It’s a "water conveyance facility," formerly known as the Provo Reservoir Canal.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

It’s a minor, seemingly insignificant detail, but one that will take an act of Congress to fix.

It began about nine years ago when federal lawmakers passed a law that would allow the Provo River Water Users Association to take control of the canal. Simply put, the association would pay the feds for the construction of the waterway, then enclose the 21-mile flow to keep out debris and make it safer. But when you enclose a canal, it’s no longer a canal. It’s an aqueduct. And no duty-bound, technicality-loving government bureaucrat could read a law that says to sell the canal when, of course, it’s now an aqueduct.

So, to make everyone happy, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is pushing legislation to change the law to read "water conveyance facility" and scratch the canal wording.

"It seems like silly Washington, D.C., legalese," Chaffetz said, "but that’s what we’re here to do."

The House on Tuesday passed Chaffetz’s legislation — by a whopping 406-0 vote — and the legislation now awaits Senate action. It’s not controversial, obviously, but in a Congress that’s passed only 56 bills this year, it may not zoom through.

When the Senate passes the legislation — Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has introduced a companion bill — the association will pay the Bureau of Reclamation $700,000 to fully own the … water conveyance facility. The association has already paid $150 million to enclose the canal in 10½-foot diameter piping and cover its path with a trail for outdoor enthusiasts.

"We’re anxious to get it in local hands," said Keith Denos, the association’s general manager.


story continues below
story continues below

But first, the Senate has to bring up the bill, and pass it, then President Barack Obama has to sign it. Then, perhaps, the federal government can do what it was told nine years ago to do. Or, at least, that’s the expectation.

"I hope this is the only thing," Denos said. "I hope they don’t come up with something else."


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.