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Should federal money for famers be spent on a dam in the desert that will serve municipal development? GBWN doesn’t think so. Last week we joined a coalition led by the Utah Rivers Council to help ensure that taxpayer dollars and water resources are spent wisely and that money for farmers goes to farmers.

In other words, $22 million worth of federal funds are at stake in a project that appears to be for municipal use but it’s masquerading as agricultural.

We’ve asked a USDA Inspector General for an investigation into the Cove Reservoir dam proposal on the East Fork of the Virgin River that’s proposed by Kane and Washington Counties in Southern Utah. Those counties are two of the worst water wasters in the nation and also leading proponents of the Lake Powell Pipeline.

The project proponents are claiming that this dam will help agricultural producers in Washington County near St. George. But when the Utah Rivers Council sent folks to the areas slated for ag use there were signs of development all around. Many of the so-called ag lands had already been converted into subdivisions.

We shouldn’t be taking money away from ag communities for sprawl development in the desert. More importantly, project applicants must be honest about their intentions with federal funds. If Washington and Kane Counties want water they should start by ripping up green lawns and cracking down on water waste.

Read the stories in the Salt Lake Trib, The Spectrum and Utah Public Radio.

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