Thursday, August 9, 2018

Colorado River still runs dry, Utah plan to divert more water to wasteful county

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For the past several months, the Colorado River Basin has been in serious drought conditions. Now, Utah plans to build the Lake Powell Pipeline, which will divert even more water from this river to its most wasteful county.

The Lake Powel Pipeline will be 140 miles long, and it will divert 86,000 acre-feet of water every year uphill to Washington County. This county is known as one of the most water wasteful in the whole country. In fact, the average person in the seven Colorado River Basin states uses 164 gallons of water per day, whereas the state of Utah has an average water consumption per person of 214 gallons a day.

But wait, it gets worse. According to the pipeline's own federal project application, residents in Washington County use 325 gallons per capita a day, which is more than twice the national average.

"Utah's failure to reduce water waste while planning new, destructive diversions flies in the face of the collective progress made in the Colorado River Basin," Taylor Graham, Water and Environmental Journalist at the Utah Rivers Council, said in a recent press release.

A statewide goal encourages Utah residents to reduce water consumption by 25% by 2025, with no goals set beyond that. According to Utah's Division of Water Resources, much of the state has the ability to reduce their water consumption by much more than 25%.

A study conducted by James Lutz of the Environmental Energy Technologies Department of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimated that 8% of the water used by an average family goes down the drain while waiting for the water to heat up. That's just one of the many water-wasting habits Americans have grown accustomed to. Bad habits like that are a serious waste of water, and the people of Utah will need to take things like that into account if they hope to reduce water waste in the years to come.

Already, residents of the Rocky Mountain state are expressing their concerns about the lack of urgency by those living in Utah.

"We don't have enough water to not conserve," said Roy Schell, a resident of De Beque, Colorado.

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