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A draft state water strategy calling for the construction of the Lake Powell Pipeline and other controversial measures has been released to the public, and Envision Utah is seeking comments on it.
The document was distributed to the Water Strategy Advisory Team, appointed by Gov. Gary Herbert, during a meeting last week. However, it was not made available to the public, prompting outcry.
The report is now posted on the Envision Utah website (http://envisionutah.org/projects/utah-water-strategy). Ari Bruening, chief operating officer for Envision Utah, said in an email that it was posted after all involved agreed that the draft should be made available.
Tage Flint, general manager of the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District and one of the advisory team's co-chairs, said future drafts will be released as they are completed.
"There was no attempt to keep it from the public," he said. "We just thought it was fair for the committee to see it first."
The draft aims to compile input from some 800 public comments, from Envision Utah surveys and from team members into a 50-year water management strategy. The final version will be submitted to Herbert.
The deadline for comments on the Envision Utah site is Monday, Oct. 24.
Flint said he believes the document makes "a good attempt at explaining the complexities of the water business in general."
"It really comes down to being a balancing act," he said, "between a growing population, more water conservation, making our water supplies go further, and balancing environmental impacts and dealing with aging infrastructure."
But Zach Frankel, executive director of the Utah Rivers Council, called the document schizophrenic.
"It's supposed to be a 50-year plan," he said, but it embraces the status quo again and again, he said. "You can't have it both ways."