The spectacular scenery and abundant resources of the Virgin River have long made the surrounding area extremely appealing to humans. The Virgin River Basin has attracted a steady stream of people from the first hunter gatherers and farmers, to the early pioneers, up to the current communities thriving along its course. Humans were drawn to the region for its water, climate, and farmable land. Currently, the water from the Virgin River has allowed Washington County to support one of the fastest growing and most dynamic communities in the nation. The Virgin River and it’s tributaries make it possible for people to live in Washington County by meeting a variety of needs.
Drinking water: treated water from the Virgin River, its tributaries, and springs and wells, provides Washington County’s drinking and culinary water.
Agriculture: water from the Virgin River and its tributaries continues to support farming and ranching endeavors throughout the basin.
Recreation: water from the Virgin River and its tributaries is stored in local reservoirs (including Quail Creek, Sand Hollow, and Gunlock State Parks) to meet the water needs of the communities. These reservoirs provide boating, swimming, and fishing opportunities for residents and visitors to the area.
Tourism: the Virgin River is also responsible for carving Zion Canyon and creating much of the beauty that makes Zion National Park one the most visited places in the country. Zion attracts over 2.5 million visitors to the region each year.