ST. GEORGE — Following the first-ever water shortage declaration for the Colorado River on Monday, conservation groups are warning that the approaching cuts in water use won't be enough, and they continue to call for an immediate moratorium on the Lake Powell Pipeline and other large-scale water projects and advocate for plans that do more to address climate change.
"St. George is not going to get their pipeline," Robin Silver, a co-founder of the Center for Biological Diversity, said during an online press conference held by a collective of conservation groups responding to Monday's announced water shortage.
"(They) need to work together with the rest of us and figure out to get out of this fix."
The Lake Powell Pipeline, which would snake over 140 miles across parts of Utah and Arizona between Lake Powell and Washington County, would divert up to 86,000 acre-feet of water from Lake Powell to Sand Hollow Reservoir. The state is entitled to the water under agreements that date back a century, but the project's critics say that water simply isn't available anymore due to the Colorado being overallocated and shrinking due to the impacts of climate change and the continuing drought.
"There's more paper water than wet water that exist on the river right now," said J.B. Hamby, director of the Imperial Irrigation District out of California. "The Lake Powell Pipeline makes no sense. … We can't be placing new limits on the system."