Water Resources

Bonneville's Irrigation and Drainage System Is Not Economically Justified Gao ID: RCED-91-73 January 31, 1991

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO prepared a: (1) benefit-cost analysis of the Irrigation and Drainage (I&D) system of the Central Utah Project Bonneville Unit; and (2) financial impacts analysis measuring the federal cost of not completing the I&D system.

GAO found that: (1) the federal government spent or was contractually obligated for a total of about $320 million for the I&D system; (2) proposed legislation providing for the completion of the system, with some changes, would cost an additional $178 million in federal funds; (3) completion of the I&D system was not economically justified, since the U.S. economy would realize a benefit of only 28 cents for every dollar of project costs; and (4) the financial impacts on the federal government of not completing the I&D system ranged from savings of $133 million, if Congress decided to reallocate sunk costs, to an additional cost of $54 million if Congress decided to forgive the repayment of sunk costs.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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