Utahns will be paying $3.2 billion to build the Lake Powell Pipeline proposed by the Utah Division of Water Resources and the Washington County Water District, not including interest.

Utah mandates that citizens using water from the pipeline must pay back the costs in full, meaning Washington County citizens will be stuck paying a $3.2 billion bill through increased water rates, property taxes and impact fees. Not only that, but thousands of dollars in interest will go down the drain. According to “A Performance Audit of the Repayment Feasibility of the Lake Powell Pipeline” from August 2019, the project is estimated to have a 3% interest rate, a 10% down payment and take 85 years to pay back. 

We are taking a risk by spending this much money on an unknown future. We can’t predict if there will be a recession midway through, or if a severe drought will decrease flows in the Colorado River significantly. Instead, we should look at alternatives, such as transferring water usage from agricultural use to municipal use as the population grows and good conservation measures.

Utahns should oppose the Lake Powell Pipeline due to the high price tag burden on current residents, and those of the future. As we enter a new great recession due to COVID-19, we cannot consider putting Utahns in debt for the next 85 years. 

Cynthia Coombs

Salt Lake City