News Feature | July 7, 2017

Utah May Spend Over $1 Billion On Lake Pipeline

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

utah reg new

It’s crunch time for water planning in Utah, where top officials are trying to devise a blueprint for maintaining water security into 2060.

“A four-year effort to devise a blueprint for Utah's water future into 2060 is built around 11 broad recommendations released [June 15] that will find their way to the governor's desk,” KUTV reported.

The public had a chance to weigh in on draft report in June, and then the State Water Strategy Advisory Team was expected to send a final product to Governor Gary Herbert, the report said.

Investment in water and sewer infrastructure were focal points of the report, which recommended that some of the funding come from state sources. The state faces $16 billion in costs to repair and replace existing infrastructure, KUTV reported.

“Over time, State funding has declined for drinking water and water quality infrastructure relative to funding for water development and infrastructure repair and replacement costs. A cap remains in place for sales tax revenues dedicated to water quality and drinking water projects that limits the State’s ability to fund these projects. Consideration should be given to eliminating this cap or otherwise finding ways to increase funding for water quality and drinking water projects,” the draft report said.

The draft report indicated that state leaders are considering a controversial pipeline project from Lake Powell, according to the Associated Press.

“The report advises Utah to pursue new regional water projects — there are two on the board like the Lake Powell Pipeline and a plan to tap the Bear River — but before they are built, the state should ensure it's doing what it can to stretch current water supplies and has looked at all alternatives,” KUTV reported.

The pipeline would cost about $1.4 billion, providing water for 250,000 current and future residents, according to Governor Herbert's office, per The Salt Lake Tribune.

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