While the Jackson Flat Reservoir, immediately south of Kanab, has taken time to become reality, the project has smooth sailing to become an important water storage facility and area recreational spot in the near future. Groundbreaking for the project will be this Friday, April 16 at 4 p.m. at 2151 S. Hwy 89A. Dignitaries at the event will include members from the Jackson family, U.S. Senator Bob Bennett and Utah Governor Gary Herbert.

The large project, undertaken by the Kane County Water Conservancy District, will be a 4,228 acre/foot reservoir that will store non-culinary water. The KCWCD will be in charge of the up to 50 foot deep reservoir’s operation and maintenance.

The land involved includes 232 acres of a historic ranch owned by the Jackson family. “I think it’s a wonderful thing for the community,” said retired Judge Norm Jackson.

He feels the project is a great tribute to his father and mother, Elmer Jackson and Leah Meeks Jackson. “They so dearly loved the community and the area,” said Jackson.

Randy Brown, Kane County Water Conservancy District Office Manager, said while the Jackson Cattle Ranch property was purchased over six years ago, the reservoir project has taken almost four years to come fruition.

The Army Corp of Engineers provided a grant of nearly $5 million, with other monies coming from the Utah Department of Water Resources, Kane County Water Conservancy District, as well as other entities to develop the water storage area.

KCWCD Director and Utah State Representative Mike Noel coordinated applications for the project, along with overseeing subsequent pre-construction work with Alpha Engineering. There has been a maze of procedures getting from A-Z to arrive at the Jackson Flat Reservoir groundbreaking on Friday, including the nearly five year Environmental Assessment Process.

Brown said that projections say it will take two years of good water flow from Kanab Creek to fill the Jackson Flat Reservoir. Water beneficiaries will be the Water Irrigation Company shareholders, including the Kane County Water Conservancy District (which owns shares in the irrigation company). Once the KCWCD has the additional water, it will have the option of selling the non-culinary water to Kanab City (for things such as the cemetery) or to other entities such as the golf course.

According to Brown, the Jackson Reservoir project is entirely separate from the large and more controversial water proposal of the Lake Powell Pipeline.

“This project is mostly to help the Irrigation Company and the community,” added Brown.

Next week we will have the first of a three-part series on the history of the Jackson Ranch.