The reason given for the $1.5 billion Lake Powell Pipeline is that rapid population growth in St. George will soon outrun the water supply. But what if population growth turns out to be much slower than pipeline proponents have projected?
Preliminary population projections from the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget have raised that possibility. Growth in St. George has slowed dramatically in the wake of the Great Recession and the bursting of the real estate bubble. Fewer new homes means fewer new customers to pay off the pipeline. That could leave taxpayers statewide holding the bag for an expensive project. It's reason enough to scrap the pipeline, at least for now.
The more important reason is that global climate change could easily reduce the available water in the Colorado River to the point that there would not be enough to supply the pipeline. Last time we checked, a water pipeline without water isn't very useful.