Topic 5: The LPP water right appears to violate 1922 Colorado River Compact.
What the Draft EIS says or doesn’t say:
- BOR does not disclose that the UDWRe has not secured the consent of the other Colorado River Basin states or the Congress to transfer water from the Upper Basin to the Lower Basin, in violation of the Colorado River Compact.
- BOR does not disclose objections from the Arizona Department of Water Resources to the transfer of water from Upper to Lower Basin.
Why this is a problem:
- The Lake Powell Pipeline would transfer water from the Upper Colorado River Basin (above Lee Ferry, Arizona) for use in the Lower Basin (Virgin River watershed). As a state in the Upper Colorado River Basin, Utah must first secure approval from all of the other six Colorado River states and the United States Congress.
- Securing approval from the other states could potentially and significantly slow the approval process, especially in times of shortage.
- A 2017 letter to the Utah Division of Water Rights from the Arizona’s Department of Water Resources notes that this transfer may violate the Colorado River Compact.
- BOR only notes—does not require—that Utah “is addressing this question”, and not seeking approval from, the other Colorado River Basin states about such a transfer when, especially in times of shortage, approval by other basin states is questionable.
- Utah must also seek approval from the U.S. Congress for interstate agreements related to the Colorado River Compact.
- Utah has known about this issue for a very long time and has not taken the necessary steps to resolve it.
- Utah doesn’t have approval to move this LPP water right from the Upper Basin to the Lower Basin. Consequently, before approving the LPP, Utah must secure the permission from the other Colorado River states and the Congress to transfer water from the Upper Basin to use in the Lower Basin, as required by the Colorado River Compact.
- The DEIS must include a requirement that Utah has secured the necessary permissions before approving the Lake Powell Pipeline.
- Does it disturb you because we would get this far in the LPP planning and approval process after taxpayers paid over $36 million for these studies and Utah may not even have the legal water right to use the water over the long term? Express your concern that the DEIS doesn’t analyze the law of the river in this situation.