United States: Water pipe to golf courses in the middle of the desert?

A pipeline project is creating controversy in the western United States. It will, by drawing water from Powell Lake, supply water to the city of St. George in Utah amid population growth. But this artificial lake carved into the bed of Colorado has already lost half of its capacity.

From our Special Envoys to St. George,

A pleasant climate, quiet apartments lined with palm trees and a magnificent panorama: Welcome to St. George’s Paradise, located in the heart of the Mojave Desert in southwestern Utah. ” Living here is awesome Rick, 72, says he gets out of his golf cart. ” The city is quiet, people are friendly, and then there is the golf course! ” St. George has a dozen golf courses surrounded by red rock formations. To be green, the greens are watered even in the middle of the day.

The seat of the Washington district in the whole population explosion of St. George. “There were about 70,000 people when I got here » , Lisa Rutherford, who lives in the neighboring town of Yvonne, and the councilor mentions Defend Southwest Utah. Twenty years later, the county’s total population is 188,000. “Since the outbreak began, building permits have been on the rise » , She promises.

Lisa Rutherford and Paul Van Dam live in Ivines, near St. George, Utah. They believe they can continue to build their district without the pipeline. © RFI / Mary Normand

Washington County is one of the largest water consumers in the country. More than 1 200 liters of water per person per day. For example, more than Las Vegas. “Everyone wants a nice lawn. But we are in the middle of the desert! We need to learn to use less water », Former Utah Attorney General Paul Van Dam mourns. According to local officials, the small virgin river is no longer enough to quench the thirst of the city. So they are asking for a 220km pipeline to draw water from Lake Powell, one of the largest artificial lakes on the border between Arizona and Utah.

The project splits as the size of this freshwater reservoir dug in Colorado’s bed has dropped dangerously. The white streaks on the rock testify to its drying. “V.S. The pipeline project completely ignores creating a sustainable water supply to Utah », Sad Jack Frankel, boss Utah Rivers Council. Instead the environmental activist is pleading in favor of recycling wastewater and exploiting other local water sources. ” We do not need this pipeline. We can relax in the water we already have Lisa Rutherford adds. It also ensures that this costly plan will increase the taxpayers’ bill.

Colorado water shared by expired contract

For their part, supporters of the pipeline argue that St. George has already reduced its water use. ” There is no other good wayZach Renstrom, executive director of the Washington County Water Conservation District, the county’s water agency, told local media in early March. “Our only project B: “ Stop. You can no longer build houses here Chuck Rinstrோம்m points out that Utah is not yet pumping all of Colorado’s water. . 1922, Colorado River Compact. The deal is based on over-optimistic flow forecasts. However, it was not negotiated again after that.

After being postponed due to health crisis, a new round of talks between these different states in the Colorado Basin is set to begin soon. This, for the first time, can define how the river system adapts to climate change. Discussions focus on formulating a post-2026 policy that covers the upcoming water shortage issue in the Colorado Basin.

The river is fed entirely by the accumulation of snow from the surrounding mountains. Every year, they melt before. Conclusion: Water evaporation does not provide enough for Colorado. Man-made lakes Powell and Mead are expected to reach their lowest levels this year since their construction. Lake Meat, which specializes in the megalopolis of Phoenix and Las Vegas, is already only a shadow of its past luxury. Created in 1935 thanks to the water retention of Hoover Dam, it supplies Nevada, Arizona and California. ” The water level has dropped by about 30 meters since I worked here for 14 yearsSays Dale Larson, a volunteer ranger at Lake Meet for the National Park Service (NPS). ” Many Californians come here to escape the taxes and find bigger homes. But soon they will be out of the water. Cities grow without thinking of tomorrow .

After more than 20 years of drought, Lake Meat, the nation's largest freshwater reservoir near Las Vegas, is only 39% full.
After more than 20 years of drought, Lake Meat, the nation’s largest freshwater reservoir near Las Vegas, is only 39% full. © RFI / Mary Normand

« Reservoir Only 39% packed . We are in the 21st year of drought Patti Aaron, communications manager for the Lower Colorado Basin for the Bureau of Rescue, a federal agency that oversees water resources management, confirms. It is difficult to generate electricity under these conditions. Specific turbines have also been added to the Hoover Dam near Las Vegas, ensuring hydropower generation with continued low water levels.

In Colorado, good and poor students

Utah’s approach to considering Powell Lake’s pipeline depends on what millions of people, especially those in Phoenix, Arizona, or Las Vegas in Nevada, have to offer. Attempts to consume less water. Under the penalty, it is not possible to water his garden in a few days. Farmers are also subject to reservation. ” We work closely with all of the lower Colorado Basin states and consumers. Through the Drought Contingency Plan (TCP) in 2019, we have agreed on water storage quality so that current levels will fall. », The menu promises Aaron. But there is no question that the federal government plays a compelling role. “We supply water to different states, but it is up to them to do that.

The white lines of the rock bear witness to the drought of Lake Powell.
The white lines of the rock bear witness to the drought of Lake Powell. © RFI / Mary Normand

These “good men” from the Lower Colorado Basin are threatening legal action if the federal government does not approve the pipeline project. “Residents in Arizona and Nevada are saving money to avoid taking too much water from Lake Mead. The pipeline will divert water from Lake Mead, which is dependent on Lake Mead. This is a disgrace to their efforts in recent years», Juj Zack Frankel, de Utah Rivers Council.

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Harrison Matthews

 "Evil musicaholic. Web fanatic. Communicator. Twitter practitioner. Travel lover. Food advocate."

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