Lake Powell Pipeline Repayment: Scam or Incompetence?
Last week 19 PhD economists from two Utah universities released their analysis of a repayment plan created by the Washington County Water District to support funding for the Lake Powell Pipeline at the 2016 Legislature. The economists found the plan fails to grasp basic economic principles and fails to repay Utah taxpayers the billions of dollars they will pay for the Pipeline. Shockingly, the district plans to repay only 28% of the total cost of the pipeline, leaving taxpayers on the hook for the other 72%. According to the economists, if the water district truly intended to repay the cost of the pipeline, water rates would have to increase 576% and impact fees 128% in Washington County. Water officials and their lobbyists have been using this flawed model to mislead our legislators and the public by claiming they can repay the debt with little to no increases in water rates or impact fees. Now we know that is a lie. In case you missed it, here is a great article from the Salt Lake Tribune.
Upon the release of the economists’ analysis we presented our concerns to the State Water Development Commission. The very same lobbyists who deceived the Legislature are also on the Commission, including the Washington County Water District.
When one of the economists, Gail Blattenberger, tried to outline some of their concerns along with Utah Rivers Council staff, the Commission quickly tried to change the subject. It’s clear the lobbyists are running the show and it’s time we take this Commission, and our Legislature back so the people can be heard!
We need your help! Please write your legislators and ask that the water lobbyists on the Water Development Commission be removed.
Read the economist's cover letter that they sent to the Governor here: 2016-economists-letter