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Sun Oct 18, 2020, 01:54 PM

Powell Pipeline Would Cost Billions To Keep Utah Lawns Green; River Flow Forecast Cut To 55% Of Avg

The recent downgrade in the forecast for the flow of water in the Colorado River should be a death punch to the proposal to build a new pipeline out of Lake Powell. The pipeline was already a major threat to Las Vegas and much of the rest of the Southwest; now the threat risk is heading off the charts.

The proposal would drain 28 billion gallons of water per year from Lake Powell to St. George, Utah, and the surrounding area. Thatís a huge amount of water ó more than a quarter of what Nevada is allotted annually from Lake Mead (97.8 billion gallons). One glance at the massive bathtub ring at Lake Mead shows the danger that Las Vegas and other communities downstream from Lake Powell would face in losing that 28 billion gallons of water.

And the situation is deteriorating. In mid-September, the Bureau of Reclamation unveiled its new forecast showing that inflows to Lake Powell would be just 55% of average. That was down significantly from the previous forecast, in April, which had placed the inflow at 75% of average.


Vastly increasing the supply to a place like St. George would be insanity. Keep in mind that the pipelineís purpose isnít to address a shortage of water there, itís to support growth. And worse yet, the St. George area is terrible on conservation ó its per-capita amount of water consumption is more than double that of Las Vegas. Where our city has adopted cash-for-grass turf removal programs and other measures that have drastically decreased our consumption, aerial images of St. George reveal it as a vast, emerald oasis of green lawns and lush trees. Water-wise desert landscaping? Not there.



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