IN FOCUS Discussion: Lake Powell Pipeline

In Focus
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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Lake Powell Pipeline Development Act passed in 2006, when the population started booming in Southern Utah.

Today, the population still continues to grow. But years of drought have taxed the Colorado River and some fear that drawing more water will speed up the depletion of Lake Powell, which hit an all-time low last week. A number of water officials are pushing the controversial $1.8 billion Lake Powell Pipeline to support this growth. Opponents say there are better ways to meet Washington County’s needs without spending that much money and creating an environmental impact.

Prof. Jason Anthony Robison, who teaches law at the University of Wyoming joined ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. for an IN FOCUS discussion. He explained what the Colorado River Compact is, how distribution to each state works, how much was allocated to Mexico and tribal lands, how the drought is affecting the compact now, whether the pipeline fits within the compact, whether Utah is getting its proportioned water from the river, and where Utah is in the process for the pipeline creation.

Zach Renstrom, general manager of the Washington County Water Conservancy District explains why he supports the creation of the Lake Powell Pipeline, his thoughts on Prof. Robison’s comments on the pipeline working within the confines of the Colorado Compact, his response to the recent reporting that Southern Utah may not need this water, how he’s thinking about our state’s extreme drought and climate change in regards to the pipeline, the cost of the pipeline, and the next steps from here.

Zach Frankel, executive director of the Utah Rivers Council, provided reasons why he opposes the creation of the Lake Powell Pipeline, his thoughts on Prof. Robison’s comments on the pipeline working within the confines of the Colorado Compact, and his response to the recent reporting that Southern Utah may not need this water.

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Prof. Robison, Renstrom, and Frankel, click on the video at the top of the article.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.

Rosie_Nguyen
Rosie Nguyen is an award-winning journalist who joined the ABC4 News team as a reporter in January 2018. In September 2020, she embarked on a new journey as the anchor for the CW30 News at 7 p.m. Although she’s not out in the field anymore, she is continuing her passion for social justice and community issues through the nightly “In Focus” discussions.

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