Commentary: The Lake Powell pipeline is a relic

January 2021

Utah has spent $40 million and has nothing to show but glossy brochures and bad analysis.

For more than 14 years Utah citizens have endured the fits and starts of a Lake Powell pipeline. In the latest chapter of this drama, Utah’s Division of Water Resources and the Washington County Water Conservancy District requested an extended timeline to consider the 14,000 comment letters received during the pipeline’s draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) review.

One of those letters was potentially a fatal blockbuster. It threatened legal action from the other six Colorado River Compact states if Utah proceeds without consulting them. This is a major obstacle, forcing pipeline proponents back to the drawing board for the federal approval process and to the negotiating table with the other compact states. This will easily push the process well beyond 2022.

We have nothing to show after spending $40 million, other than glossy brochures, inadequate analyses, a promotional website and the prospect of another costly taxpayer-funded analysis.

There is a better path: improved management of our local water.

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