Bonneville Unit's Irrigation and Drainage System Is Not Economically Justified

T-RCED-90-108: Published: Sep 18, 1990. Publicly Released: Sep 18, 1990.

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GAO discussed whether the proposed construction of the Irrigation and Drainage (I&D) System of the Central Utah Project's (CUP) Bonneville Unit was economically justified. GAO noted that: (1) the U.S. economy would realize a benefit of only 30 cents for every dollar of project costs; (2) the I&D system would supply irrigation water to farmlands in central and southern Utah; and (3) the I&D system would cost $328.5 million, with the federal government financing $150 million of those costs. GAO believes that: (1) on the basis of the Bureau of Reclamation's own data and methodology, construction of the I&D system was not economically justified; and (2) in order for the construction of the I&D project to be economically justified with a benefit/cost ratio of 1 to 1, project benefits would have to be increased by 232 percent, or existing project costs would have to be decreased by 70 percent.

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