Hello Friends of the Colorado River!
When you think of Utah, do you think Moab? Arches National Park? Skiing? Well add this to your list: Utah probably has the worst water management policies of any state in the U.S. Worse yet, Utah is proposing to double-down and “put dams on every river in the state” and spend $32 Billion (that’s right, BILLION) on new water projects.
First, just last week, the U.S. Geological Survey put out a scientific study proclaiming that Utah uses more water per person than any state in the U.S. Zach Frankel from Utah Rivers Council jumped on this and called Utah “The biggest water waster in America.” Check out the TV news video discussing this issue and featuring Zach here. While the U.S. as a whole is decreasing water use, Utah is increasing its water use. Frankel blames much of the waste on the fact that Utah also has the cheapest water in the U.S., in that cities fail to charge the true cost of water to its citizens. What’s the result? More dried up streams like in the TV news video above. Boo hiss, Utah!
What’s even WORSE in Utah? Get this: The State of Utah government wants to build more and more dams across Utah’s rivers. In fact, in a recent newspaper article, a state water official said: “‘It’s necessary to put dams on all rivers in Utah,’ said Todd Adams, deputy director for the Utah Division of Water Resources.” Seriously, he said that! And once again, Zach Frankel from the Utah Rivers Council counters this nonsense in this newspaper article here, by calling it a “fear tactic” to scare the public into supporting higher taxes for more and more unnecessary dam projects.
Further yet, the State of Utah has outlined $32 Billion worth of water projects that includes nearly $15 Billion for new dam and reservoir projects. And, they’ve hired a slick public relations firm to try and jam it down Utah taxpayers’ throats. Check out this story in the Deseret News discussing the massive proposed expenditures. And, once again, Utah River Council’s Zach Frankel snaps back by saying, “It is an insult to try and dupe Utahns into ($32 billion) in debt with some flashy marketing. These water districts have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars on propaganda for boondoggles like the Lake Powell Pipeline, but they have no way of showing they can repay this debt without draconian increases in water rates, impact fees and property taxes.”
And if that’s not enough, as we’ve outlined in the past year, Utah is leading the United States in proposals for dirty energy projects including tar sands, oil shale, and fracking for oil and gas. The new film, Last Rush for the Wild West, which we’ve discussed in the blog, highlights many of these threats. You can watch the trailer here.
Of course it’s bad news that Utah is in the back seat (or the trunk of the car?) in water policy in the Colorado River basin, but the good news is that Utah environmental groups are working hard to change the status quo. A big THANK YOU and shout out to Utah Rivers Council, Living Rivers, Glen Canyon Institute, and Citizens for Dixie’s Future, all groups that Save The Colorado has supported.
Keep fighting, Team! Thank you for your support!