Property taxes set to go up for hundreds of thousands of water users in the Salt Lake Valley

Large conservancy district says the extra money is needed to upgrade facilities to meet growing demand.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) New construction in South Jordan in May. The Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District proposes a property tax increase to upgrade water facilities to keep pace with growth.

Expanding demand from a growing population means water users in the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District soon could be paying more in property taxes.

The water provider — which supplies 17 member agencies in a service area (primarily in the southwestern Salt Lake Valley) with a population of about 800,000 — wants to bump up its fiscal 2022 property tax rate by nearly 8%.

“As it turns out,” water district boss Bart Forsyth said, “some of the largest infrastructure that we have in our system providing water to a growing population is now at capacity.”

The Jordan Valley Water Treatment Plant, the largest treatment facility in the state, runs at capacity in the summer, when demand for water peaks.

“And in order to meet the water needs of the growing population,” Forsyth said, “we need to expand that plant significantly to provide for that growth.”

While the jump might look significant on paper, most property owners are unlikely to feel the increase. The annual property tax bill from the water district will rise by $7 on a home worth $550,000. The hike is projected to drive up annual revenue by about $1.7 million.

The extra money will help support the district’s ability to make debt payments and invest in capital projects.

On top of treatment facility upgrades and expansion, the district wants to construct new wells and build two new tanks to store drinking water for growth in places like West Jordan, South Jordan, Riverton and Herriman.

District spokesperson Linda Townes Cook said Jordan Valley has been able to defer expansion of the treatment plant by years because new water sources have come on line and Utahns have cut back their consumption.

She encouraged residents to continue conservation efforts by voluntarily curbing water use by 10% and limiting watering to two days a week.

Residents will be able to weigh in on the proposed property tax increase at an Aug. 10 public hearing, when the board of trustees is scheduled to consider adopting the new rate.