A Wasteful Use of Water
Governor Gary Herbert’s Administration is now proposing the single largest diversion of Colorado River water anywhere in the entire watershed. The $2 billion Lake Powell Pipeline diversion would divert 86,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water for municipal use in Southwest Utah.
The multi-billion dollar pipeline would pump water 2,000 feet uphill across 140 miles of desert to deliver the equivalent annual water usage of 700,000 average Americans to just 150,000 people in St. George, Utah to water their lawns.
This water use inequity can be explained by the extremely high water use of St. George residents, who are using 294 gallons per capita day, roughly twice the water use of Phoenix, Albuquerque and Denver residents, per person. This high water use by St. George residents stems from artificially low water rates, currently some of America’s cheapest municipal water. These cheap rates are achieved by collecting property taxes on homes and businesses to lower the price of municipal water thereby encouraging residents to use more water, a practice unique to Utah.
Located immediately upstream of the Grand Canyon, the diversion would reduce flows available for fish and wildlife species over hundreds of miles of the Colorado River and make restoration efforts at the Colorado Delta much more difficult. It would also impact the millions of residents throughout the Southwest who are much more conscientious with their water use.
The State of Utah submitted its official application for approval with the Federal Energy Regulator Commission (FERC) on December 1, 2015 and has spent $27 million preparing its application.
What Can You Do?
Write a letter to your Congressman and tell him/her that the Lake Powell Pipeline is far too large of a diversion to be approved by FERC. Click here to sign a petition to Utah’s Governor.