Dear Editor:

What is wrong with this picture? The City of Kanab and our Kane County Water Conservancy District are considering selling large quantities of our local water to a proposed industrial facility that would prepare fracking sand for the oil industry. This unwise action would place water users and taxpayers in Kane County in jeopardy, the result being higher property taxes and skyrocketing water bills.

Here are some facts:

According to a 2015 Water Needs Assessment completed by the Utah Division of Water Resources, the demand for water in our area will more than double by 2060. This report concluded that the demand for water provided by the Kane County Water Conservancy District will become greater than our existing supplies by the year 2035. Now it appears that Mike Noel, the Director of the KCWCD, wants to sell our limited local water to an industry owned by out-of-towners. This plan simply does not make sense.

We are in the middle of the longest drought in recent history, made worse by global warming. Past records from tree rings indicate that the southwest has experienced protracted “mega” droughts that have lasted more than 50 years. At this point, we aren’t even one third of the way into a fifty-year drought.

The proposed Lake Powell pipeline, if built, would cost taxpayers and water users between $3 billion and $5 billion. As it stands, Kane County would be on the hook for a big chunk of this expense. We just don’t have this amount of money to spend, and with a worsening drought, there may not be enough water to even fill this pipeline.

Southern Red Sands LLC is requesting we give them the equivalent of over 1/3 of the water we use in Kanab each year to service their project. The developers are probably understating what they need, so the project would be taking even more of our water than this.

Andy Gant is being paid by Southern Red Sands to manage their project. At the same time, he is a Kane County Commissioner, the chairman of the Kane County Resource Committee, and is a close family relative of Mike Noel. This is an ugly conflict of interest. Gant is supposed to be representing local families and their need for sustainable water, not being paid privately to sell off our precious water supply.

The truth of the matter is that Kanab and Kane County will have water for many years if we apply reasonable conservation measures. We don’t need to make the obvious mistake of selling away our precious drinking water.

Tell your friends and neighbors about this proposed water sellout and have them contact the City of Kanab and our Kane County Water Conservancy District with this message: Just say no to selling our local water!