Lake Powell Pipeline Project

Most information presented here is taken from the study reports performed for Utah Bureau of Water Resources. Please keep in mind that the entire project will affect Southern Paiute ancestral lands, no matter which route is chosen.

Short Description
The action alternatives would each deliver 86,249 acre-feet of water annually for municipal and industrial (M&I) use in the three southwest Utah water conservancy district service areas. Washington County Water Conservancy District (WCWCD) would receive 69,000 acre-feet, Kane County Water Conservancy District (KCWCD) would receive 4,000 acre-feet and Central Iron County Water Conservancy District (CICWCD) could receive up to 13,249 acre- feet each year. Iron County is currently considering whether it will take part in the project and their decision is expected soon.

1.2 Summary Description of Alignment Alternatives

Three primary pipeline and penstock alignment alternatives are described in this section along with the electrical power transmission line alternatives. The pipeline and penstock alignment alternatives share common segments between the intake at Lake Powell and delivery at Sand Hollow Reservoir, and they are spatially different in the area through and around the Kaibab-Paiute Indian Reservation. The South Alternative extends south around the Kaibab-Paiute Indian Reservation. The Existing Highway Alternative follows an Arizona state highway through the Kaibab Paiute Indian Reservation. The Southeast Corner Alternative follows the Navajo-McCullough Transmission Line corridor through the southeast corner of the Kaibab-Paiute Indian Reservation. The transmission line alignment alternatives are common to all the pipeline and penstock alignment alternatives. The natural gas supply line alignment alternative is common to all pipeline and penstock alignment alternatives.

1.2.1 South Alternative

The South Alternative consists of five systems: Intake, Water Conveyance, Hydro, Kane County Pipeline, and Cedar Valley Pipeline. The Intake System would pump Lake Powell water via submerged horizontal tunnels and vertical shafts into the LPP. The intake pump station would be constructed and operated adjacent to the west side of Lake Powell approximately 2,000 feet northwest of Glen Canyon Dam in Coconino County, Arizona. The pump station enclosure would house vertical turbine pumps with electric motors, electrical controls, and other equipment at a ground level elevation of 3,745 feet mean sea level (MSL). The Water Conveyance System would convey the Lake Powell water from the Intake System for about 51 miles through a buried 69-inch diameter pipeline parallel with U.S. 89 in Coconino County, Arizona and Kane County, Utah to a buried regulating tank (High Point Regulating Tank-2) on the south side of U.S. 89 at ground level elevation 5,695 feet MSL, which is the LPP project topographic high point.

The pipeline would be sited within a utility corridor established by Congress in 1998 which extends 500 feet south and 240 feet north of the U.S. 89 centerline on public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) (U.S. Congress 1998). Four booster pump stations (BPS) located along the pipeline would pump the water under pressure to the high point regulating tank. Each BPS would house vertical turbine pumps with electric motors, electrical controls, and other equipment. Additionally, each BPS site would have a buried forebay tank, buried surge tanks and a surface emergency overflow detention basin. BPS-1 would be sited within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area adjacent to an existing Arizona Department of Transportation maintenance facility located west of U.S. 89. BPS-2 would be sited on land administered by the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) near the town of Big Water, Utah on the south side of U.S. 89. BPS -3 (Alt.) is the proposed third booster pump station and would be sited on land administered by the BLM Kanab Field Office near the east boundary of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) on the south side of U.S. 89 within the congressionally-designated utility corridor. BPS -4 (Alt.) would be sited on private land east of U.S. 89 and west of the Cockscomb geologic feature. The proposed pipeline alignment would diverge south from U.S. 89 parallel to the K4020 road and continue outside of the Congressionally-designated utility corridor to a buried regulating tank, High Point Regulating Tank-2 (Alt.) at ground level elevation 5,630 feet MSL, which would be the topographic high point of the LPP project along this alignment alternative.

An alternative pipeline alignment parallel to U.S. 89 and up to the high point of the GSENM would require BPS- 3 and an in-line hydro station (WCH-1) to be sited at the east side of the Cockscomb geologic feature in the GSENM within the Congressionally-designated utility corridor. BPS-4 would be sited on the west side of U.S. 89 and within the Congressionally-designated utility corridor in the GSENM on the west side of the Cockscomb geologic feature. The BPS-4 site would be on land administered by the BLM in the GSENM. This High Point Highway alignment alternative would end at High Point Regulating Tank-2 at elevation 5,695 feet MSL.

A rock formation avoidance alignment option would be included immediately north of Blue Pool Wash along U.S. 89 in Utah. Under this alignment option, the pipeline would cross to the north side of U.S. 89 for about 400 feet and then return to the south side of U.S. 89. This alignment option would avoid tunneling under the rock formation or excavating the toe of the rock formation on the south side of U.S. 89 near Blue Pool Wash.

A North Pipeline Alignment option is located parallel to the north side of U.S. 89 for about 6 miles from the east boundary of the GSENM to the east side of the Cockscomb geological feature.

The Hydro System would convey the Lake Powell water from High Point Regulating Tank-2 (Alt.) at a high point at ground level elevation 5,630 feet MSL for about 87.5 miles through a buried 69-inch diameter penstock in Kane and Washington counties, Utah and Coconino and Mohave counties, Arizona to Sand Hollow Reservoir near St. George, Utah. The High Point Highway Alignment Alternative would convey the Lake Powell water from High Point Regulating Tank-2 at the high point at ground level elevation 5,695 feet MSL for about 87 miles through a buried 69-inch diameter penstock in Kane and Washington counties, Utah and Coconino and Mohave counties, Arizona to Sand Hollow Reservoir near St. George, Utah. Four in-line hydro generating stations (HS-1 (Alt.), HS-2 HS-3 and HS-4) with substations located along the penstock would generate electricity and help control water pressure in the penstock. The proposed High Point Alignment Alternative would include HS-1 (Alt.) along the K4020 road within the GSENM and continue along a portion of the K3290 road. Under the High Point Highway alignment alternative, HS-1 would be sited on the south side of U.S. 89 within the Congressionally-designated utility corridor through the GSENM.

The proposed penstock alignment and two penstock alignment options are being considered to convey the water from the west GSENM boundary south through White Sage Wash. The proposed penstock alignment would parallel the K3250 road south from U.S. 89 and follow the Pioneer Gap Road alignment around the Shinarump Cliffs. One penstock alignment option would parallel the K3285 road southwest from U.S. 89 and continue to join the Pioneer Gap Road around the Shinarump Cliffs. The other penstock alignment option would extend southwest through currently undeveloped BLM land from the K3290 road into White Sage Wash.

The penstock alignment would continue through White Sage Wash and then parallel to the Navajo-McCullough Transmission Line, crossing U.S. 89 Alt. and Forest Highway 22 toward the southeast corner of the Kaibab Indian Reservation. The penstock alignment would run parallel to and south of the south boundary of the Kaibab Indian Reservation, crossing Kanab Creek and Bitter Seeps Wash, across Moonshine Ridge and Cedar Ridge, and north along Yellowstone Road to Arizona State Route 389 west of the Kaibab Indian Reservation. HS-2 would be sited west of the Kaibab Indian Reservation. The penstock alignment would continue northwest along the south side of Arizona State Route 389 past Colorado City to Hildale City, Utah and HS-3. The penstock alignment would follow Uzona Road west through Canaan Gap and south of Little Creek Mountain and turn north to HS-4 (Alt.) above the proposed Hurricane Cliffs forebay reservoir. The forebay reservoir would be contained in a valley between a south dam and a north dam and maintain active storage of 11,255 acre-feet of water. A low pressure tunnel would convey the water to a high pressure vertical shaft in the bedrock forming the Hurricane Cliffs, connected to a high pressure tunnel near the bottom of the Hurricane Cliffs. The high pressure tunnel would connect to a penstock conveying the water to a pumped storage hydro generating station. The pumped storage hydro generating station would connect to an afterbay reservoir contained by a single dam in the valley below the Hurricane Cliffs. A low pressure tunnel would convey the water northwest to a penstock continuing on to the Sand Hollow Hydro Station. The water would discharge into the existing Sand Hollow Reservoir.

The peaking hydro generating station option would involve a smaller, 200 acre-foot forebay reservoir with HS-4 discharging into the forebay reservoir, with the peaking hydro generating station discharging to a small afterbay connected to a penstock running north along the existing BLM road and west to the Sand Hollow Hydro Station. A low pressure tunnel would convey the water to a high pressure vertical shaft in the bedrock forming the Hurricane Cliffs, connected to a high pressure tunnel near the bottom of the Hurricane Cliffs. The high pressure tunnel would connect to a penstock conveying the water to a peaking hydro generating station, which would discharge into a 200 acre-foot afterbay reservoir. A penstock would extend north from the afterbay reservoir along the existing BLM road and then west to the Sand Hollow Hydro Station. The water would discharge into the existing Sand Hollow Reservoir. The Kane County Pipeline System would convey the Lake Powell water from the Lake Powell Pipeline at the west GSENM boundary for about 8 miles through a buried 24-inch diameter pipe in Kane County, Utah to a conventional water treatment facility located near the mouth of Johnson Canyon. The pipeline would parallel the south side of U.S. 89 across Johnson Wash and then run north to the new water treatment facility site.

The Cedar Valley Pipeline System would convey the Lake Powell water from the Lake Powell Pipeline just upstream of HS-4 or HS-4 (Alt.) for about 58 miles through a buried 36-inch diameter pipeline in Washington and Iron counties, Utah to a conventional water treatment facility in Cedar City, Utah. Three booster pump stations (CVBPS) located along the pipeline would pump the water under pressure to the new water treatment facility. The pipeline would follow an existing BLM road north from HS-4, cross Utah State Route 59 and continue north to Utah State Route 9, with an aerial crossing of the Virgin River at the Sheep Bridge.

1.2.2 Existing Highway Alternative

The Existing Highway Alternative consists of five systems: Intake, Water Conveyance, Hydro, Kane County Pipeline, and Cedar Valley Pipeline. The Intake, Water Conveyance and Cedar Valley Pipeline systems would be the same as described for the South Alternative.

The Hydro System would convey the Lake Powell water from the regulating tank at the high point at ground elevation 5,630 feet MSL for about 80.5 miles through a buried 69-inch diameter penstock in Kane and Washington counties, Utah and Coconino and Mohave counties, Arizona to Sand Hollow Reservoir near St. George, Utah. The High Point Highway Alignment Alternative would convey the Lake Powell water from High Point Regulating Tank-2 at the high point at ground level elevation 5,695 feet MSL for about 80 miles through a buried 69-inch diameter penstock in Kane and Washington counties, Utah and Coconino and Mohave counties, Arizona to Sand Hollow Reservoir near St. George, Utah.

The proposed alignment would rejoin U.S. 89 about 2.5 miles east of the west boundary of the GSENM. Four in-line hydro generating stations (HS-1 (Alt.), HS-2, HS-3 and HS-4 (Alt.)) located along the penstock would generate electricity and help control water pressure in the penstock. The proposed HS-1 (Alt.) would be sited along the K4020 road within the GSENM and continue along a portion of the K3290 road to its junction with the pipeline alignment along U.S. 89. The High Point Highway alignment alternative would include HS-1 sited on the south side of U.S. 89 within the Congressionally-designated utility corridor through the GSENM.

The penstock would parallel the south side of U.S. 89 west of the GSENM past Johnson Wash and follow Lost Spring Gap southwest, crossing U.S. 89 Alt. and Kanab Creek in the north end of Fredonia, Arizona. The penstock would run south paralleling Kanab Creek to Arizona State Route 389 and run west adjacent to the north side of this state highway through the Kaibab-Paiute Indian Reservation past Pipe Spring National Monument. The penstock would continue along the north side of Arizona State Route 389 through the west half of the Kaibab-Paiute Indian Reservation to 1.8 miles west of Cedar Ridge (intersection of Yellowstone Road with U.S. 89), from where it would follow the same alignment as the South Alternative to Sand Hollow Reservoir. HS-2 would be sited 0.5 mile west of Cedar Ridge along the north side of Arizona State Route 389.

The Kane County Pipeline System would convey the Lake Powell water from the Lake Powell Pipeline crossing Johnson Wash along U.S. 89 for about 1 mile north through a buried 24-inch diameter pipe in Kane County, Utah to a conventional water treatment facility located near the mouth of Johnson Canyon.

1.2.3 Southeast Corner Alternative

The Southeast Corner Alternative consists of five systems: Intake, Water Conveyance, Hydro, Kane County Pipeline, and Cedar Valley Pipeline. The Intake, Water Conveyance, Kane County Pipeline and Cedar Valley Pipeline systems would be the same as described for the South Alternative.

The Hydro System would be the same as described for the South Alternative between High Point Regulating Tank-2 (Alt.) and the east boundary of the Kaibab-Paiute Indian Reservation. The penstock alignment would parallel the north side of the Navajo-McCullough Transmission Line corridor in Coconino County, Arizona through the southeast corner of the Kaibab Indian Reservation for about 3.8 miles and then follow the South Alternative alignment south of the south boundary of the Kaibab-Paiute Indian Reservation, continuing to Sand Hollow Reservoir.

1.2.5 Natural Gas Supply Line and Generators Alternative

An alternative to powering the Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP) pump stations by electricity from transmission lines is installing natural gas engine driven generation systems to power electric pumps. Recent discussions with Questar Gas (a local natural gas supplier) have indicated that capacity is available in the Kern River natural gas pipeline, which is located west of St. George, Utah, to supply the gas for this alternative. Questar Gas has indicated they have plans to extend a high pressure gas pipeline from the Kern River line to Hurricane, Utah. The Questar Gas pipeline would be oversized if it is determined that a single-purpose, dedicated high pressure gas line would be extended to service the LPP pump stations. Based on the preliminary pump selection and fuel requirements, it has been determined that the natural gas supply line would be 12-inches in diameter to provide natural gas supply for the pump stations. The pipeline would be successively reduced in size as it delivers gas to each of the pump stations.

1.2.5.1 Natural Gas Transmission Line Connection

The natural gas supply line alternative would connect to the proposed Questar Gas Transmission Line from the existing Kern River line to Hurricane City. The natural gas supply line would connect to the high pressure gas transmission line at a proposed gate station southeast of Sand Hollow Reservoir at approximate station 270+00 on the LPP alignment. The proposed gate station would be located adjacent to the alignment of the future extension of the Southern Corridor highway, which would be constructed along the existing alignment of the Sand Hollow Road east of Sand Hollow Reservoir.

1.2.5.2 Natural Gas Supply Line

The proposed natural gas line would be an intermediate high pressure line and would operate between approximately 250 to 300 psi pressure at the gate station connection. With pressure losses in the pipeline it is anticipated the pressure at each of the LPP pump stations would vary between 50 and 100 psi which would meet the requirements of the natural gas generators. The pipeline would be constructed of strong carbon steel and have a dielectric coating such as a fusion bonded epoxy or extruded polyethylene. It would be installed with a minimum 4 feet of cover and be provided with cathodic protection (a technique that involves inducing an electric current through the pipe to ward off corrosion and rusting). The pipeline would be designed, constructed, tested, and operated at a minimum in accordance with all applicable requirements included in the U.S. DOT regulations in 49 CFR Part 192, "Transportation of Natural Gas and other Gas by Pipeline: Minimum Federal Safety Standards," and other applicable federal and state regulations.

The natural gas supply line would follow the proposed LPP ROW from the Sand Hollow Gate Station to the intake pump station near Page, Arizona. The line would be about 138.5 miles long, installed a minimum of 10 feet from the edge of the proposed water pipeline in a separately excavated trench within the LPP ROW.

Sectionalizing valves would be required along the natural gas supply line alignment. These valves are safety devices used for emergency shut down or maintenance. The natural gas supply line sectionalizing valves would be required at approximately 20-mile intervals because of the gas line remoteness. The main line valve sites would cover a 40-foot by 40-foot area surrounded by a chain link fence within the confines of the permanent LPP pipeline ROW. The valves would be above-ground, connected to the buried natural gas supply line. Additionally, pig launching or receiving equipment would be installed within the sectionalizing valve fenced areas. Pigs are devices that are placed into a natural gas supply line to clean the inside walls or to monitor its internal and external condition. Launchers and receivers are facilities connected to the natural gas supply line that enable pigs to be inserted into or removed from the pipeline.

1.2.5.3 Natural Gas Generators

Natural gas generators would be used to supply power to operate the pumps at the LPP pump stations. The configuration of the electric pumps is approximately 18 feet center to center. The overall pump station building size would be increased 14 feet in width and 18 feet in length compared to pump stations powered by electricity from transmission lines. The natural gas generators would be approximately 35 feet long by 8 feet wide by 9 feet high. The intake pump station building size for the natural gas generators would be approximately 65 feet wide by 170 feet long by 50 feet high, adjacent to the pump station electrical room within the 5-acre site designated for each pump station. The booster pump station building size for the natural gas generators would be 65 feet wide and 39 feet high, with lengths ranging from 114 feet to 162 feet long. Each natural gas generator would require a 24-inch diameter stack, with guide wires, extending above the building roof to disperse the exhaust gases. The five stacks (four operating natural gas generators plus one standby natural gas generator) at the intake pump station would extend 25 feet above the top of the building to a total height of 75 feet above the ground surface. The stacks at BPS-1, BPS-2, BPS-3 (Alt.) and BPS-4 (Alt.) would extend 61 feet above the top of the buildings to a total height of 100 feet above the ground surface. The natural gas generators at the intake pump station and BPS-4 (Alt.) would require emission control systems to meet air quality standards.

An alternative configuration of the booster pump stations and pipeline alignment involving BPS-3 and BPS-4 combined with the intake pump station, BPS-1 and BPS-2 would be similar to the proposed project, except the LPP water would be pumped to the High Point Regulating Tank 2 at elevation 5,695 feet MSL within the Congressionally-designated utility corridor along U.S. 89. Additional pumping requirements at BPS-3 also would require one additional natural gas generator and emission control systems to meet air quality standards. BPS-4 would require emission control systems. The stacks at BPS-3 and BPS-4 would extend 61 feet above the top of the buildings to a total height of 100 feet above the ground surface. The proposed natural gas generators at the LPP pump stations would require an annual natural gas supply of 2,855,400 million British thermal units (MMBtu). The CVP booster pump stations would not be powered by natural gas generators.

The Justification

During the past three decades, Southern Utah has grown at an astronomical rate, making it one of the nation's, and the state's, fastest growing areas. Even though this high growth rate began to decline in 1996, it is expected to remain among the fastest growing areas in Utah through the first half of the century. With that growth came an increase in water demand. The proponents of the project think that it is important to invest in a pipeline now to ensure that the area has an adequate supply of water in the future. Iron County's aquifers are being drained faster than they can be replenished. State water officials have said that of the five aquifers in the most trouble in Utah, three are in Iron County. Iron County has applied for water rights in the desert west of Cedar City for relief, but Beaver and Millard counties object.

Although the Kane County Water Conservancy initially claimed that additional drinking water source capacities will be needed for Kanab City due to population growth requiring an additional source capacity of 3,400 gpm by the year 2020, the Water Needs Assessment that was completed in September tells a different story.

These latest data indicate that Kane County has no need for the 10,000 acre feet it is asking for in the foreseeable future (4,000 within the Lower Basin), Iron County has critical need but has not decided whether or not to take part in the project, and Washington County claims to have need of the water by 2020 and will need even more from some unknown source by 2040 to accommodate expected growth.

In a recent study conducted by the University of Utah Bureau of Economic and Business Research, the St. George metropolitan area, which includes all of Washington County, uses on average, 391 gallons of water per person per day. This was the highest per capita use of water in the study. The average per capita water use of the 25 metropolitan areas studied was 243 gallons of water.

In a brochure published by the water district on the Lake Powell Pipeline, the water district says, "The most readily available, least expensive and environmentally sound source of water to meet the area's needs is the water currently being wasted." However, the water district feels even with "aggressive conservation", demand will exceed the supply by 2025 without the pipeline.

The Timeline

Years of work are still needed before the Lake Powell Pipeline becomes reality, if ever. It is likely that this is a project that will be more than 10 years in the making. Rights of way, various permits and agreements need to be obtained. An extensive environmental review of the proposal to build the pipeline will be conducted (including cultural clearances), and stakeholder and public input will take place, after which there may be litigation. The actual construction of the pipeline is estimated to take only three years to complete.

Even though it would take years before the pipeline is actually constructed, preliminary planning is critical.

  • Step 1: Studies and acquiring Rights-of-Way This is the phase we are currently in.
  • Step 2: National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Compliance with public scoping opportunities and agency consultations
  • Step 3: Final Design Decision
  • Step 4: Implementation

Current Events

The Kaibab Paiute Tribe's Environmental Program has tried to be involved with this project at every step; we held community meetings when Washington County Water Conservancy's proposal started to get attention by the State of Utah. We have and continue to attend all meetings in southern Utah or northern Arizona and obtain notes on meetings held in Salt Lake City. We attend all field excursions to the route and regularly take part in teleconferences convened by the Coalition opposing the Lake Powell Pipeline. In 2007, the Tribal Council appointed our program as the Point of Contact for this project so we work closely with the Tribe's water litigator, Alice Walker. We review all documents pertaining to environmental considerations and often help to cross-review cultural aspects.

The lead agency for the environmental analysis (also referred to as the NEPA process) is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) out of Washington, D.C. with cooperating agencies including Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and National Park Service. Many other state agencies are involved, from Utah, Arizona and Nevada.

The Utah DWR has hired a consulting firm called MWH for marketing, engineering and studies analyses. DWR filed its Notice of Intent (NOI) and Pre-Application Document (PAD) to FERC for the hydrosystem (facilities that actually produce energy as the water moves downhill towards St. George) part of the project on March 4, 2008. The NEPA process, which will produce an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) has not yet begun, but is currently scheduled to be completed in 2012.

Since the Lake Powell Pipeline (conveying water from Lake Powell to the southern Utah counties of Kane, Washington, and Iron) is projected to contain multiple hydropower facilities, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been designated the Lead Agency on this Utah Bureau of Water Resources project, overseeing the environmental concerns and meeting the compliance requirements of the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.

The EIS will be used by FERC to determine whether, and under what conditions, to issue an original hydropower license for the hydrosystem (which is only one component of the proposed 180-mile-long water supply pipeline) and will be used by the other federal agencies for their decisions to issue permits.

FERC developed an initial Scoping Document 1 (SD1) in 2004 where they gave their preliminary views on environmental issues that would need to be addressed. Based on that document, scoping meetings were held in Kanab, St. George and Cedar City from June 10-12 earlier this summer. From the comments received at the scoping meetings, FERC developed Scoping Document 2 which was distributed in late August.

We were able to have representation (including one Tribal Council member) in all 5 of the groups that were developing study issues. After negotiations led by our water litigator, we managed to achieve a special status from FERC that has never been granted to any other group: a bifurcated designation which allows us to separate staff to participate in Lake Powell Pipeline discussions while retaining our ability to take legal action against FERC if we have unresolved disputes with them. We continue to attend all meetings with the Lake Powell Pipeline Management Committee, which are open to the public and listed on their website at: Lake Powell Pipeline Management Committee

To track the progress of the Lake Powell Pipeline project

  1. Please register on eSubscribe for docket number P-12966-000 by going to the following link to login to FERC Online. You'll be notified via email about all future correspondence. You will also be able to retrieve the documents.(Note: You will not be emailed correspondence filed or issued prior to the date you subscribe to a particular docket).
  2. Register as a FERC Online User to obtain a FERC I.D. and password (you will need to do this even if you have an eFiling account). FERC Online will then send you an email confirming your registration.
  3. Go to your email program's Inbox and open the message from FERC Online. Click on the link to validate your account.
  4. Once you are a registered FERC Online User, log in to FERC Online by entering your registered email address/FERC I.D. and your password. Select the docket number for the project you want to track.