As one of the most arid and fastest-growing states in the nation, Utah needs to develop and use its available water, including a portion of its legally apportioned water from the Colorado River delivered through the Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP). Utah’s thriving economy and desirable address are the result of a safe, reliable water supply that exists today due to prior planning and development.
When operating at full capacity, LPP will deliver 86,249 acre feet of water annually from Lake Powell to 13 communities in southern Utah. The project will diversify the area’s water supply and enhance its reliability because most of the region depends exclusively on a single water source of variable quantity and quality. LPP introduces one of the state’s most reliable water sources – the Colorado River – into the region.
A complex set of compacts, federal laws, court decisions and decrees, contracts, and regulations, known as the “Law of the River,” guides use of the Colorado River and protects use of state water rights. According to Don Ostler, former Executive Director and Secretary, Upper Colorado River Commission, “The upper basin states (Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah) must allow 75 million acre feet of water in a 10-year running total to pass to the lower basin (California, Nevada and Arizona). Today, the upper basin is using about 4.5 million acre feet and determined a safe yield would be 6 million acre feet. Even with this safety factor, the upper basin still has more supply it can develop.”