"Sin City's" water grab

“KT” has commented extensively on this blog about how Las Vegas is grabbing water from underground for hundreds of miles in all directions so that these environmentally misfit fountains, lakes, and square miles of commerce in the hot desert can continue to grow and grow.

Now Ted Williams has written about it in his blog. Sin City’s Water Grab. By Ted Williams. Ted Williams’ Conservation Connection.

The price the rest of Nevada pays for the Las Vegas water grab will be high, and given the designs of Las Vegas, the underground waters of Utah and Idaho may not be safe either.



, , ,




  1. kt Avatar

    The Water Grab is only the top layer here.

    There is a whole other layer of Energy Development enabled by these “wilderness” Bills that were heavily financed and promoted by an entity called Campaign for America’s Wilderness. New major transmission lines are to be built in the path of many of Reid’s Las Vegas Water Mining Water Corridors. And besides the LV Corridors, there are OTHER giant energy corridors planned, like the Southwest Intertie Project (SWIP) that are to be built in the region, to tie into the LV corridors. SWIP will be put in place incrementally, and is to forge northward into Idaho, following along a path north of Interstate 80 between Wendover and Wells that NO ONE in the BLM seems to want to reveal. Sell-offs of BLM land in White Pine County and Lincoln Counties, mandated by the wilderness Bills, will enable power and water line development, energy substations and the like.

    As more of the details of all the Development related to water and energy in Nevada have emerged in the past couple of months, it is becoming ever more apparent that conservationists who promoted these Bills have been pawns of Industry, and enabled the designs of The Western Governor’s Association — and others — to exploit, industrialize and de-water the hinterlands, to produce Water and Energy for major urban areas.

    Here is a little report – it only tells ONE part of the story – but establishes what we have long been hearing, too, that the Western Governor’s Assoc’n is deeply involved in all this. They have seized on “wilderness” as a way to Unlock the door to development, and pull the wool over the public’s eyes – getting sell-offs of public land, aquifer mining, and destructive industry bills to breeze through Congress ..


    Note: Kai Anderson, one of the authors, was a staffer for Reid, intimately involved in the Lincoln and White Pine Bills. He now works as a lobbyist for the Las Vegas water miners (SNWA), the White Pine Energy Center (a proposed Ely coal-fired power plant) , and —- CIEDRA! Google it …

    The coal-fired power plants that are planned (and enabled by the White Pine “wilderness” Bill) have an associated groundwater sucking Pipeline that will, for now, extend to Lages Junction. If you believe the Water Grab will end there, please consider investing in a bridge in Brooklyn. The Energy corridors like SWIP and its ilk are the key to moving not just Energy, but Water, too. And perhaps not just within the US, either. A separate, privately financed power corridor, called Northern Lights, is proposed to come down from Canada.

    Ralph in his Post today on Wilderness suggests a Scoring method for quid pro quo Bills. But to understand what is really going on with these Bills, you have to take a step further back, and look at the PATTERN of these Bills, and understand that as yet unknown deals have already been made, in smoke-filled rooms (or perhaps Cabernet and brie-filled rooms), for development to occur linked to all the complicated provisions of the Bills – and that includes CIEDRA. Why, for example, is it so important that Simpson’s Bill dismantle protections for part of the Sawtooth NRA????? What deal has been cut behind the scenes that we all will only figure out months after the ink has dried on the legislation? You could not, really, score these Bills without knowing the backroom deals, and other development schemes occurring in, or planned for, the region by Powerful interests.

  2. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    The land is proposed to be transfered in order to gain local support for the bills. It seems simple to me, an actually not all that insidious. Give and take.

    Here are maps of the land proposed to be transfered:


    I supposed, though, that if you oppose public land sales/transfers/giveaway (or however you want to frame it) on principal, there is no room for discussion.

  3. kt Avatar

    Thanks for the link to the CIEDRA maps. They illustrate what is going on. For example, in these 2006 Maps, if you click on Map 4, you see parcels like D and F on the west side of the spectacular Lost River Range. Parcel F would privatize a block of land (right next to a blue state section, I might add) for wind energy or other development. Then, of course, the next step will be applications by the wind developer to dynamite roads and wind mill pads up into the Lost River Range onto public lands. Hard to stop such things under Bush Regs, especially if there is a private land toe in the door. My question are: What deals have already been cut, and who has invested in wind plant companies or other development that may be built here??? The Custer County commissioners or their cronies? Simpson’s aid or associates? CAW folks? None of the above?

    OR: What all Energy OTHER developments, powerlines, giant substations, etc. may be planned – including with more development in Parcel D to the north? How will additional development, rights-of-way, etc. that stems from these to-be-privatized public land toeholds be segmented, and linked to further assaults on more public lands occur? NOTE too that the 80,000 acres of BLM WSAs to be released to potential new development are just to the west of the Parcel F country. Is energy development planned – by some folks – there??? These are just questions that must be asked – AND ANSWERED – in light of what the Nevada CAW-promoted Bills have taught us.

    And how does one, really, balance the diminished no water right wilderness of CIEDRA, or its removal of SNRA protections, with new toeholds in the door to open the way for development at the base of the Lost River Range in an area surrounded by public lands?


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan