A federal judge recently dismissed the Ute Indian Tribe’s claim of discrimination regarding its water rights. Neither the State of Utah nor the Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP) has taken the Ute Indian Tribe’s water rights.
The tribe has long held a federally decreed water right for 144,000 acre-feet of depletion from the Colorado River system. The state has not prevented the tribe from exercising its federal reserved water rights, nor will the LPP diminish those rights. The LPP’s water right is distinct from the tribe’s water rights. The early priority of the tribe’s rights will allow it to beneficially use those rights regardless of the pipeline’s operation.
Additionally, the tribe has accepted hundreds of millions of dollars Congress provided under the Central Utah Project Completion Act or CUPCA as final settlement of the tribe’s water-related claims.
The state is pleased the tribe’s claims against the Department of the Interior, State of Utah and Central Utah Water Conservancy District have recently been dismissed. However, dismissal of the claims does not alter the state’s ongoing commitment to work cooperatively with the tribe regarding water resource matters. See the state’s full statement here: https://naturalresources.utah.gov/news.
Local Waters Alternative 2.0 Fails to Meet Washington County's Water Needs
The Local Waters Alternative 2.0 proposed by the Colorado-based environmental group Western Resource Advocates falls short of meeting the water needs of Washington County and fails to disclose a cost estimate.
The Local Waters Alternative 2.0 (LWA 2.0) published in July 2021, was offered as a way to meet the water demands of Washington County, the fastest growing region in the fastest growing state in the nation. Similar to a previous version, LWA 2.0 does not address the critical risks to Washington County’s water supply, nor does it quantify the costs and the potentially significant environmental impacts of implementing the proposal.
Extensive study and analysis have shown the Lake Powell Pipeline to be the only option that brings a needed second source of water to the county and provides the flexibility to adapt to climate change while meeting the community’s growth projections.
“LWA 2.0 represents a crucial misunderstanding of our local water system,” said Zach Renstrom, general manager of the Washington County Water Conservancy District. “LWA 2.0 drastically overestimated the amount of water reliably available from the Virgin River basin, our only source of water. Additionally, the LWA 2.0 could cost as much as the Lake Powell Pipeline, with none of its benefits. The bottom line is we will run out of water without the LPP. It is a critical project for our community.”
Visit Lpputah.org to read more about the flaws of LWA 2.0.