Letter to the Editor: County commissioner touts Lake Powell Pipeline as key to future of Utah’s Dixie

Stock image, St. George News

OPINION — A favorite memory of my youth was sitting on the couch with my dad on a Saturday watching a western movie. I remember one of a family heading west. The beginning of the trip was full of optimism, fun and adventure.

Washington County Commissioner Gil Almquist speaks in St. George, Utah, Oct. 17, 2018. Almquist has authored a letter to the editor to St. George News in support of the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline. | File photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

The initial focus of the movie centered around their plans to make the 2,000-mile journey. However, once they encountered the great western deserts, the entire focus shifted to finding water to simply survive.

The desert has always been a foreboding place. Traveling through or even living in the desert took tremendous work, sacrifice and dedication. Like the family in the movie, finding water is certainly the foremost task befalling anyone surviving in the hostile desert environment. Extreme heat, freezing nights, limited shelter and scarce water are a few of the challenges.

The desert is also enticing with beautiful vistas, exposed geology, warm days and vast open space. Newcomers arrive every day. This allure has saddled individuals and communities with the requirement to seek and secure enough water to not only survive but thrive. The early Dixie pioneers understood this. The minute after they unpacked, organized their camp and made a plan, they set off to find sufficient water to establish a community.

It is no different today. The need to seek and store water is more critical now than at almost any time in our history. Because we live in one of the most beautiful and accessible areas of the desert Southwest, people are coming here from all over the world. That takes water.

Local leaders and concerned individuals have contributed plans and ideas as to how to resolve the need for sufficient water. There seems to be a divide into two camps. One, bring in more water. Two, use what we have. If we look at water like money, we might find how both make valid points.

We all have budgets to keep personal and family finances in order. My wife and I carefully watch our spending (conserving) while also working hard to earn more money for current and future needs (developing).

Significant efforts to conserve are paying off and more is planned moving forward. Reusing water from the treatment plant for golf courses, parks and other non-culinary uses is just starting to reach its potential. Less grass is encouraged. But more water-efficient trees clean the air and provide cool spaces.

Those seeking more water are encouraging more conservation while also planning for the future. Conservation is key, but alone it will not keep up with demand.

For these and many other reasons, I support the Lake Powell Pipeline. It is Utah’s water and we are the most logical place to use it. I have reviewed all of the data, all sides of the issue and various alternatives.

As a landscaper over 35 years, I have seen the vital role water plays in making our cities and towns beautiful. I have been at the forefront of conservation in outside water use. I have also traveled to hundreds of areas in the west. Those who have developed and managed their water resources well are green and attractive; others are simple dustbowls.

Those who yell at the top of their lungs and spread false data against the Lake Powell Pipeline and other water projects have to remember they drink, shower and flush the water sought after, developed by and paid for by those who came here before.

The family heading west survived with hard work, ingenuity and pulling together. Let’s likewise combine our efforts and attack this issue head-on. C’mon Dixie, we can do this.

Submitted by GIL ALMQUIST, Washington County Commissioner.

Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or news contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them. They do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!