A parliamentary commission is considering building a pipeline from the Pacific Ocean to the Great Salt Lake.
The commission allowed a study of the notion — along with several other water initiatives — during a meeting on Tuesday while conceding that it appears to be an odd idea.
The study would look at the cost of building a pipeline from the Pacific Ocean via California and the Sierra Nevada mountains, over Nevada deserts, and eventually into Utah’s Great Salt Lake.
The panel leaders admitted that the concept might cost billions of dollars (to say nothing of whether other states would even allow such a thing).
Drought has declared a state of emergency in Utah. Water diversion, industrialization, drought, and climate change are all causing the vast lake to decrease. A dried-up lake creates a significant environmental problem for Utah, resulting in hazardous dust storms (arsenic is found on the lake bed), a lack of snowpack, and billions of dollars in lost economic effect.
“Our entire way of life in northern Utah is impacted by a declining lake. We’ve instituted and put in place significant conservation measures, but it’s not going to be enough and so we need to look at other options and one of those options is importing water from the Pacific Ocean.” says Rep. Ferry.
While the Great Salt Lake pipeline design was the oddest, it was not the only one advanced by the panel on Tuesday. Water reuse, studying strategies to address diminishing Lake Powell water levels, the quantity of water Utah gets from the Bear River, a pipeline study for the Green River, agricultural optimization, rural water metering, aquifer storage, and further water conservation measures are among the other initiatives.