Dams: A pro-dam view from Emery County
I grew up in rural Utah in the small town of Elmo. Elmo is part of spacious Emery County. This area is a desert and water is non existant during the heat of the summer except for the use of irrigation water that flows from the many reservoirs in the region.
When Emery County was settled many of the establishments didn't last due to a lack of water. Being a poor county comprised of coal miners and farmers without much water they couldn't pay for their own dams. A project to build several dams was authorized as a participating project of the Colorado River Storage Project by the Colorado River Storage Project Act of April 11, 1956. The users weren't forced to eat all of the costs of the construction signing a contract to only repay 3 million of the 8 million dollars used to construct the project.
Certainly environmental changes have occurred since the construction of the dam but I believe the economic benefits that have come to the county as a result of these reservoirs far outways any environmental impacts.
For example, since the building of the dams 2 coal powered power plants were built in the region that utilize water year round from these reservoirs. These plants provide electricity to a large part of the western U.S..
Farming has prospered and the area has survived. Without the dams the county would be one large sandbox and the population would be even closer to zero.