This week proved that no western state near Utah’s borders is safe. On Thursday, Senator Stuart Adams dropped SB211, which would create the Utah Water Agent – an official tasked with establishing a strategy to pursue out-of-state waters for Utah’s in-state uses.
That is as bad as it sounds.
The last time I checked, there wasn’t any water available for Utah in Nevada. And I assume that Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, and Wyoming feel the same way. I hope this isn’t another exercise in engineering a pipeline to the Pacific Ocean or Mississippi River. But expectations are low. We worry about how this effort could be used to further projects like the Cedar City Pipeline and a host of other projects in Southern Utah that could have interstate impacts.
The bill would allow the Utah governor to appoint the Water Agent and exempts that position from pesky little requirements like making its records public and from undergoing certain public procurement practices.
Additionally, the bill creates a council made of the state’s four largest water districts, exempting it from audits and being a de facto government entity, to work on efforts to – you guessed it – develop water projects, among other things like conservation.
Utah, known for its libertarian streak, sure does like spending millions, as this bill does, on creating bigger government water entities that have no accountability for how they spend taxpayer dollars.
We will oppose this bill until the bitter end. No state’s water supply is safe when Utah lawmakers are in session.