Las Vegas Sun

August 18, 2022

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Lake Mead pipeline vote leads to fall of Water Coalition

Las Vegas Wash

Sam Morris

At one time, the Clean Water Coalition had planned a pipeline that would have crossed this stretch of the Las Vegas Wash to expel treated wastewater into the deeper depths of greater Lake Mead. However, the CWC mothballed that project and the Nevada Legislature took $62 million allocated for it.

All but dead.

As of Sept. 30, that will be the status of the Clean Water Coalition, an entity that has had little mandate for almost two years, as member agencies mothballed its reason for being: to create a pipeline to return filtered water to Lake Mead.

That project is dead with a vote Thursday by the coalition’s board, whose members include representatives from Clark County, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson.

Former County Commissioner Chip Maxfield, hired as general manager of the Clean Water Coalition after he decided not to run in 2008, is out of a job, too.

Maxfield will only be called upon on an as-needed basis, the board decided. It set aside $50,000 to pay Maxfield if he is asked to work in some capacity related to water reclamation. The lion’s share of administrative duties, amounting to keeping tabs on legal issues and refunds to ratepayers who for years contributed to the coalition, will revert to the Clark County Water Reclamation District.

The coalition’s board selected Maxfield as general manager in February 2009. His salary and benefits dropped from $180,000 in 2009 to about $110,000 in 2010.

About $62 million that the Water Coalition still had in the bank, collected from ratepayers, will be returned to its members. Those governments will use the money as they see fit.

Clark County will receive $30 million; Las Vegas $20 million; Henderson $20 million; and North Las Vegas $6 million.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Las Vegas Councilman Steve Ross said before voting.

“This is all but shutting down the Clean Water Coalition,” said board Chairman Larry Brown, who is a Clark County commissioner.

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