Letter: Washington County’s water dilemma must be addressed first and foremost by putting the brakes on growth

(Lexi Peery | KUER) Sand Hollow is the most visited state park in Utah and the reservoir is a vital resource for Washington County.

Most folks in Washington County know that catastrophe awaits if water supply issues aren’t adequately addressed. With population exploding and water supply decreasing, the dystopian nightmare of “water wars” and cutthroat competition over scarce resources is becoming a real possibility in southwest Utah.

Unfortunately, local water planners can’t wean themselves from the Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP), as the solution to southwest Utah’s water woes. To them, it’s a problem of supply and not demand.

As recently as April 20, the head water planner for Washington County, Zach Renstrom, reaffirmed this position during a panel discussion at Dixie State University.

According to Renstrom, “Conservation alone won’t be enough to meet Washington County’s growing demand.” Accordingly, adequate new sources must be tapped and the LPP is Washington County’s best and perhaps only answer.

Ironically, however, by framing the issues in a way that can be easily understood, Renstrom and crew may have unknowingly helped all stakeholders, including his critics, to more closely scrutinize the LPP and perhaps even come to grips with Powell’s shrinking water levels.

Simply put: Washington County’s water dilemma must be addressed first and foremost by putting the breaks on growth! To many, such words are madness and represent a mindset that’s simply unthinkable.

However, it’s been the opposite mindset that’s rendered Washington County officials almost incapable of proper judgment. When planning to address problems of such magnitude we can’t hide from reality and nothing, no matter how sacred, should be off the table. Remember, in Dixie, the “D” doesn’t stand for denial.

Thomas R. Smith, Hurricane

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