The Central Utah Project is the state of Utah's largest and most comprehensive federal water resource development project. It moves water from the Colorado River basin in eastern Utah to the western slopes of the Wasatch Mountain range where population growth and industrial development are rapidly growing. The project provides water for municipal and industrial use, irrigation, hydroelectric power, fish and wildlife, conservation, and recreation. Improved flood control and water quality are also among the project benefits.
The Central Utah Project was authorized in 1956 under the Colorado River Storage Project Act (P.L. 84-485) as a participating project of the Colorado River Storage Project. Construction of the CUP was originally the responsibility of the Bureau of Reclamation, however construction proceeded slowly due to project complexities, complicated environmental analysis, and sporadic federal funding. The Central Utah Project Completion Act (P.L. 102-575) enacted on October 30, 1992, transferred responsibility for planning and construction activities to the Central Utah Water Conservancy District and placed responsibility for oversight of the project with the Department of the Interior.
The CUPCA established the Central Utah Project Completion Act Office which was created in 1993 to oversee completion of the project and administer CUPCA funding, legal compliance, environmental work, etc. The CUPCA Office reports directly to the Secretary of the Interior through the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science. The CUPCA also established the Utah Reclamation Mitigation Conservation Commission to coordinate mitigation and conservation activities for the project.
The Central Utah Project provides the opportunity and mechanism for Utah to develop a significant portion of its allocated share of Colorado River water for beneficial use. As the need for water continues to grow along the Wasatch Front, the CUP will continue to play an important role in meeting those needs.