Lake Powell Pipeline Update

LPP Public Comment Period Deadline Approaching
As a reminder, the Bureau of Reclamation is accepting public comments on the Lake Powell Pipeline Draft Environmental Impact Statement through Sept. 8, 2020. Thanks to all who have already submitted comments on this crucial water delivery project.

To submit a letter, please click here.

Read about key DEIS findings here.

Wildfires Threaten Water Supplies

More than 89 wildfires are burning in the western states, including 8 active wildfires in Utah. In addition to loss of forests as well as threats to homes and wildlife, wildfires affect water quality.

Fires cause rivers, streams and reservoirs to fill with ash, soil and debris. After the fires, larger amounts of sediment enter the waterways and often cause flooding. Denver Water spent $18 million dredging up sediment after the 2002 Hayman Fire burned its watershed.

Because most Washington County residents rely on only the Virgin River basin for all their water, wildfires place the region’s water supply at great risk. The Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP) will add a second water source from the larger Colorado River basin and provide the community with critical backup and more water. LPP diversifies the water supply and better enables the Washington County Water Conservancy District to manage water quality issues resulting from wildfires or natural contaminants such as algae blooms.
LPP Needed to Weather Drought

Drought conditions are impacting 98% of Utah and Washington County is in the extreme drought stage. With triple digit temperatures and below average precipitation, the Washington County Water Conservancy District (district) continues to emphasize the importance of water conservation programs for residents and businesses. Water users are urged to continue saving water both indoors and outdoors. 

Even being the hottest, most arid area in Utah, Washington County has decreased its per capita use 30% from 2000-2018, during which time the population nearly doubled. Local cities and the district have invested more than $70 million in activities to save water. In addition, the district has encouraged developers to install water efficient landscapes and develop secondary water systems to irrigate parks, schools and golf courses.

Dry conditions underscore the need for the Lake Powell Pipeline, which will bring more water to southwest Utah. The area doesn’t have another water source if drought or other issues were to surface with the Virgin River. Climate change places the area at greater risk. The Virgin River is a small desert tributary and is more vulnerable to drought and climate change than the larger Colorado River.  

State's Water Right & Faulty Cost Arguments

Former Speaker of the Utah House David Clark's editorial discusses Utah's right to use its allocated Colorado River water for the Lake Powell Pipeline

"The Bureau of Reclamation recently released its draft Environmental Impact Study on the LPP and determined that the project is needed, the water is available and there are few environmental impacts.  

Individuals who suggest Colorado River basin states should “challenge” Utah’s use of its water fail to understand the Law of the River, which authorizes each state to develop and use its respective share."

Executive Director of the Five County Association of Governments Bryan Thiriot's letter to the editor discusses Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) findings that show few LPP environmental impacts while critics focus on faulty cost arguments.

"...Commentators have criticized the water delivery project by inflating the estimated construction costs and the approved revenue sources for project repayment.

Perhaps the lack of environmental claims is due to the fact that extensive environmental studies have been conducted for the LPP DEIS to evaluate impacts from the project’s construction, operation and maintenance. The studies have found that the LPP will have very few permanent environmental impacts."

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Lake Powell Pipeline

533 E. Waterworks Dr.
St. George, UT 84770