Friday, April 30, 2010

Water plans could leave Utah dry if nature balks

Tom Wharton in the Salt Lake Tribune: The water projects affecting Utah and the Colorado River Basin and the price tags to build them keep piling up. Washington, Iron and Kane counties want to spend $1 billion on a pipeline to bring 100,000 acre-feet of water from Lake Powell to southwestern Utah.

Kane County hopes to then join San Juan County in selling off 50,000 acre-feet of water rights to facilitate a nuclear power plant near Green River, Utah. That's as much as East Canyon Reservoir holds. In an average year, the power plant would reduce river flows by 2 percent. That could increase to up to 10 percent in a drought.

….What really frightens me, though, is what happens if a major, sustained drought hits the Western United States and there simply isn't enough water available to meet urban, industrial and agricultural needs? Climate change could make such droughts even more severe than they have been historically. Are we setting ourselves up for an ecological and environmental disaster?

….Do the water planners, dam builders, power-plant proponents, farmers who rely on water to feed us, home developers and government officials really know if what they are proposing is ultimately sustainable?…

Lower Ribbon Falls, the Grand Canyon (in Arizona, actually), shot by Kkaufman11

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