Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015 | 2 a.m.
Despite constantly hearing from both past and present water bosses that Las Vegas has nothing to worry about and that the Southwest must and will work together to solve the Colorado River crisis, reading between the lines of the official statements leaves more questions than answers.
It’s been said that Las Vegas is safe because we will be able to pump Lake Mead at dead-pool levels. But do we really want to live in a city pumping a lake that’s basically become a river of runoff and treated sewage? The Southern Nevada Water Authority says water isn’t a limiting factor on growth, but does it have a plan to provide water for over 300,000 new residents in the next 20 years if drought continues the way it has for the past decade? We have water banked in various regions, but how will that resolve problems when a withdrawal would cause another community to run dry? There are pilot projects underway to reduce agricultural water use on the river, but how do we get conservation to scale in time to avoid disaster?
Many questions have already been raised about the controversial pipeline to remove groundwater from eastern Nevada for the benefit of Clark County. But perhaps more important than the economic or environmental costs, a basic question should be asked: If the pipeline is the last resort, what’s the first option? Ratepayers need to ask tough questions until we get adequate answers.