Facing facts • Washington County officials want more water to flow into their subdivisions and onto their golf courses. But they are not interested in serious conservation measures to lessen the need for more water. And they balk at raising impact fees or taxes to pay for what they see as the only solution: a pipeline from Lake Powell. Even if residents of this arid corner of Utah were willing to foot the bill, the fact that Utah policymakers simply won't face is that Lake Powell and the Colorado River that feeds it are drying up, making the issue of who gets the water moot. Remember the Great Salt Lake pumps? They were an expensive solution to an immediate problem that disappeared. A pipeline to take water from Lake Powell would be an expensive temporary solution to a problem that doesn't exist. St. George's per-capita daily water use is far too high, compared to other Southwest desert cities, and water is too cheap. If Washington County required consumers to pay the real price of dwindling water, as it should, population growth would slow, better reflecting the ability of the desert to accommodate human habitation.
Staying safe • As firefighters battle to slowly bring three wildfires under control in rural Utah, officials are rightly prohibiting unnecessarily dangerous activities on unincorporated land in Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane and Washington counties. These include building open fires, smoking, working with metal, shooting at exploding targets and using any type of fireworks. Last year's wildfire season was devastating to homeowners and ranchers in many areas of the Beehive State. All Utahns should heed the warnings and act responsibly to limit activities that could start a fire. Open lands, forests and rangeland are all parched and tinder dry. It only takes one spark to set off a potentially deadly, ruinous wildfire.