Home » Publications » Lake Powell Pipeline: Unsustainable, Unnecessary, Expensive, and Contrary to Law
At WRA, the West is also our passion. The Colorado River and its many tributaries carve out stunning canyons and provide renowned recreational opportunities. People from across the world visit our small towns and urban centers, our national and state parks, and our trails and wilderness. Lark buntings, longspurs, and sage grouse share our prairies, and pelicans and godwits grace our lakes. Our vast open spaces and diverse habitats provide wide range for migrating pronghorn and elk.
Today in the West our population is doubling, outdoor recreation is soaring, and climate change is threatening our very way of life, as demands on water and land grow beyond sustainability. Our team of policy experts, scientists, economists, and attorneys has a 30-year history of working where decisions are made, sweating the details, creating evidence-based solutions and holding decision makers accountable. While states have boundaries, the environment does not.
We respect the different needs of diverse communities and partner with them to develop a shared vision for progress—one that advances our communities while protecting biodiversity. Our direct engagement with policymakers and other advocates advances clean energy, protects air, land, water, and wildlife—and sustains the lives and livelihoods of people in the West.
WRA takes big, bold ideas—a Colorado River that runs to the sea, an economy that runs on carbon-free energy, and 50% of all land protected and connected—and we ask the hard question: How? We use Western ingenuity and practicality—backed by science—to drive change for a more sustainable future.
We have precious little time to prevent the worst impacts of climate change on the West’s rivers, lands, and communities. WRA is tackling our region’s toughest challenges, and we’re winning. We successfully reduce carbon emissions, protect rivers, improve air quality, and redefine how land for birds, wildlife, and communities is protected and connected.
But there is so much more to do.
The science is clear. We must limit global heating to 1.5 to 2 °C to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change. WRA is a leader in reducing carbon pollution in the power sector, and we’re setting the stage to transition the West to clean electricity. Our goal is to reduce emissions from the power sector in the Interior West at least 51% by 2030, compared to 2016 levels, with the aim of achieving 100% clean energy no later than 2050.
In the Interior West, 13.3 million people—60% of the population—live in areas where the air quality fails to meet federal health standards. WRA uses its extensive legal expertise to ensure states take strong actions to reduce air pollutants in every neighborhood and hold polluters accountable to take steps to update or retire obsolete technologies. With the health of our families and neighbors in jeopardy, we must clean the air in our communities now.
The Colorado River, the lifeblood of the West, is projected to decrease by as much as 20% in the next three decades. With an increasingly warm and dry climate—and the current decades-long megadrought across our region—we need better ways to meet the growing demands of rivers and people. WRA safeguards our waterways by fostering collaboration between water users and through innovative efficiency measures to reduce demand for water and protect flows. Our goal is to protect and restore the health of rivers for current and future generations.
Natural areas and important habitats in the West are rapidly disappearing, primarily because of increased human development in the last two decades. WRA is securing vital funding at the state level and pushing our lawmakers to take bold action to protect the birds, wildlife, and humans made vulnerable by that rapid loss. Our goal is to protect and connect 50% of lands by 2050.