OPINION — I support advancing the Lake Powell Pipeline project, which I believe is critically important to our region and the state as a whole.
Unlike most Utah residents, the majority of Southern Utah’s population depends exclusively on a single river basin to supply water. If water quality or quantity problems arise with that one source, it places Southern Utah communities at great risk.
The pipeline introduces one of the state’s most reliable water sources – the Colorado River – into the region, helping to ensure uninterrupted water delivery to homes and businesses now and in the future. I believe that the projected growth for the region requires that we make the investment in water development and infrastructure necessary to serve the critical needs of our residents and to accommodate our economic growth.
The state estimates that the pipeline will support over 100,000 jobs and households.
History has demonstrated that the state of Utah can develop large infrastructure projects economically while respecting environmental resources. The state has funded more than 1,400 regional water projects with only one default in 70 years. Legislators understand that investment in water infrastructure, including the development of new water sources, is essential for our future.
Our state is best served by also reducing water use through conservation. Residents in Washington and Kane counties have made great progress in reducing water use. In fact, Washington County was the first in the state to surpass the governor’s 25% water conservation goal by reducing water use over 30% since the year 2000.
This progress is significant given this region’s outdoor irrigation season is four months longer than that of northern Utah. The Washington County Water Conservancy District and its municipal partners have invested more than $60 million in recent conservation efforts and is committed to doing more.
The district’s water conservation program was recently audited by a third-party nationally recognized water conservation expert, Maddus Water Management. Maddus concluded that the conservation program is “on par with other notable programs in the western United States and exceeds those of other entities of a similar size and customer base.”
It is the job of the water districts throughout the state to ensure our citizens have clean and reliable water. Prior planning has allowed citizens throughout Utah to have an ample water supply today; now is the time to make sure future generations do as well.
The Lake Powell Pipeline is evidence that the Utah Division of Water Resources and the water districts in Washington and Kane counties are doing their job.
Let’s support them in their efforts and advance this project without delay.
Submitted by V. LOWRY SNOW, state representative House District 74
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