Utah Water Legislation Concerns Colorado River Basin States

By Ron Dungan
Published: Monday, March 15, 2021 - 5:46am
Updated: Monday, March 15, 2021 - 7:44am

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Upper Colorado River in Utah
Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management
Upper Colorado River in Utah.

Drought has forced several states to rethink how they use the Colorado River, but Utah is trying to figure out how to get more water out of it.

Utah’s plan to build a pipeline from Lake Powell to the St. George area has raised eyebrows from the six other Colorado River Basin states.

In September, those states wrote a letter reminding Utah of their history of collaboration. It concluded by saying that the pipeline could result in litigation. Utah’s response was to create a new water board.

But Zach Frankel, of the Utah Rivers Council, says that Utah may be getting ready for a legal battle.

"The agency is called the Colorado River Water Authority," Frankel said. "But the actual appropriation for the funding for the river authority is called the Colorado River Legal Defense Fund," he said. 

The bill that created the board has passed both houses and awaits the governor’s signature. 

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