Las Vegas Sun

February 21, 2019

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Letter to the editor:

Water pipeline has major costs, too

An editorial in Tuesday’s Las Vegas Sun, “All washed up,” parrots the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s position on alternative water supplies, with no effort to counter its total lack of objectivity.

Saying seawater desalination is not an option because it is expensive ignores the $4 billion cost of the proposed pipeline. Nobody has even bothered to find out how much desalination would cost. Saying that a desalination plant is foolish because it uses electricity needs to be compared with the not insignificant amount of power required for pumping water through a couple of hundred miles of pipe. And saying that environmental issues would probably make desalination unacceptable is just smoke. Returning the salt in seawater back to the ocean would have essentially no effect on the environment.

The Water Authority has come up with an expensive project that it wants to rush to completion without considering alternatives that might make more sense. Gov. Jim Gibbons should demand that a complete evaluation of the options be done before another nickel is spent on a pipeline project.

Ultimately, California and Arizona use most of the Colorado River’s water, and finding the cheapest way to provide more to Las Vegas is the responsible thing to do.

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