Luke Runyon published a nice piece earlier this week on setbacks to three of the Colorado River Basin’s three great zombie water projects:
2020 has been a tough year for some of the Colorado River basin’s long-planned, most controversial water projects.
Proposals to divert water in New Mexico, Nevada and Utah have run up against significant legal, financial and political roadblocks this year. But while environmental groups have cheered the setbacks, it’s still unclear whether these projects have truly hit dead ends or are simply waiting in the wings.
All three projects – a new diversion on the Gila in New Mexico, Utah’s Lake Powell Pipeline, and the Las Vegas rural groundwater project – have looked to me as if they’ve been dead for a long time. They all provide super expensive water for communities that don’t really seem to need it.
Pretending you’re still pursuing them while never actually building them avoids the political liability of killing them while also avoiding the actual staggering cost of building them.
Las Vegas and New Mexico seemed this year close to actually killing their zombies, but as Luke points out they’re not quite dead yet.
The Lake Powell Pipeline seems most likely to prove my zombie project prognostication wrong.