It's pretty hard to miss the major construction and dirt being moved just off I-15 near the Toquerville Exit.

And though, we're still a year-and-a-half or so out from it being finished, the Chief Toquer Reservoir project is critical for Washington County.

Named for the 19th century Paiute leader Chief Toquer, the under construction reservoir will cover about 115 acres and provide a much-needed boost to water storage for the county.

Previously, the water would pool in the natural lake (called Ash Creek Reservoir) near New Harmony, eventually emptying downstream in dryer times. With the Chief Toquer Reservoir, the water will be used for storage and redundancy for the county and offers the Washington County Water Conservancy District another tool in its battle against the dry desert climate.

The dam for the reservoir will be 125-feet tall and 1,270-foot wide and should be done in 2026.

Reservoirs like Chief Toquer, and the proposed Graveyard Wash and Warner Valley have become critical with the hoped-for Lake Powell Pipeline mired in a seemingly endless loop of red tape.

As for Chief Toquer, the dam's namesake, he was termed an "enlightened Indian,' who made friends with the early Mormon settlers and even helped them become established in the New Harmony area in the mid-1850s.

Chief Toquer reportedly "showed great love and concern for his people, encouraging them to learn and grow with the times by welcoming outsiders into their land."

A marker for the chief has been erected in the town of Toquerville, which is expected to experience tremendous growth in the coming years with the erection of the dam and reservoir.

The proposed Graveyard Wash Reservoir in Santa Clara has prompted strong reaction on both sides concerning its name, according to the WCWCD's Zac Renstrom.

Supporters like the name citing tradition and keeping the area's known name. Opponents say it's an awful name for a reservoir, considering the original Graveyard Wash was named because early settlers would take their animals to the wash to die and decompose.

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