Helper City Council Votes Against Funding Cloud Seeding Project


Gary Harwood spoke with the Helper City Council during its regularly scheduled Thursday evening meeting, which was also the council’s inaugural meeting for 2019.

Harwood took time to speak with the council regarding the possibility of funding for cloud seeding, which is a type of weather modification. Cloud seeding aims to increase the amount of precipitation that falls from clouds by dispersing substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation. Harwood stated that he had recently attended a meeting at the Price River Watershed Conservation District where a discussion took place regarding funding for potential cloud seeding.

Jeff Richens with Price River Water Improvement District (PRWID) and Russell Seeley, Price City Engineer, were also in attendance at the meeting where it was discovered that the district is currently funding the project, which is already underway.

The project costs about $10,000 whereas the budget is $11,000. Price City and PRWID have each agreed to put forth $2,500 toward the project and any entities that are benefiting were asked to contribute an amount.

Two units are in place now, including one at Birdside. When there is a northeast storm, the cloud seeders are turned on and their jobs are completed. The chemical aspect of the seeders is the most expensive portion. Harwood stated that the State of Utah has been cloud seeding since 1973.

The North American Weather Consultants have estimated a 10 to 15% increase in precipitation with the seeding, which would accumulate to about 10,000 more acre feet of water in the Price River.

Pending the council’s approval, the funding for the cloud seeding would be taken from the water department. Remarking that there is no proven science behind cloud seeding, council members Malarie Matsuda and Donna Archuleta both voted not to fund the project.

Council member Dave Dornan remarked that he would not have been opposed to funding an amount around $500 to the project with further research. However, with two members voting nay, a motion was not entertained for funding.

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