Las Vegas Sun

February 21, 2019

Currently: 37° — Complete forecast

Letter: Nevada isn’t reason for our water woes

Phoebe Sweet's Oct. 26 story about the danger to our water supply from Lake Mead's falling level completely misses the most important point.

Nevada is responsible for almost none of the drop in Lake Mead, so more conservation in the Las Vegas Valley will not postpone the day when the Southern Nevada Water Authority's pumps start sucking air. Nevada uses only 3 percent or 4 percent of the Colorado River water, so even if Nevada used no water from the lake - none - the level would still be down 97 feet. It's down because California, Arizona and Mexico use most of the water, largely for agriculture.

That doesn't mean we Nevadans are completely at the mercy of California and Arizona. Thanks to the foresight and persistence of the Water Authority, there is an agreement that Arizona will cut its use when the level falls below certain points.

Pat Mulroy and the Water Authority are doing a remarkable job of ensuring a reliable water supply to a booming Southern Nevada. Because of problems throughout the West , though, the Colorado River may no longer be a reliable source for Nevada, so the Water Authority must look elsewhere. If the lake gets too low for lawn-watering, then it will soon be too low for drinking, too!

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