Nevada Water Authority shaken by growing push-back to their effort to drain groundwater from under the Nevada desert

Nevada’s “water wizard” to ask for vote of confidence in face of opposition to more draining the desert-

Southern Nevada Water Authority’s boss, Pat Mulroy, thought by many to be the most powerful woman in the Interior West, says she wants a quick vote from Water Authority members [this is a board, not the public] to show they are still committed to plans to pipe groundwater to Las Vegas from the eastern Nevada Desert (including maybe Utah’s desert).

Opposition has been growing rapidly, and there may not be enough water for 270,000 more homes for more sprawl in and near Las Vegas, especially with the rapidly falling water level of Lake Mead on Colorado River.

Nevada Water Authority vote sought on pipeline project. Growing opposition prompts call for vote. By Henry Brean. Las Vegas Review-Journal.



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  1. kt Avatar

    Yeah, Ms. Mulroy/SNWA now owns many thousands of public lands grazing AUMs that are further drying up the desert by trampling watersheds. It’s disgusting.

    If the Colorado River water users want there to be more Colorado River water, they should start by terminating public lands grazing in all headwater areas.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    More unsold houses and abandoned mortgages than just about anywhere and Mulroy and the Southern Nevada boosters think their salvation is political water theft to promote more urban sprawl!

  3. Bonnie Avatar

    It seems to me that Southern Nevada needs to remember that they live in a desert climate and start altering their livestyles to match. In other words, landscape yards with desert plants instead of trying to mirror the vast expanse of green lawns, trees and shrubs you see in the midwest; cut back on the golf courses or redesign them to be more appropriate for the climate; and start charging premium prices for the water to fill swimming pools, artificial ponds, and fountains. It’s pretty much the same as the argument about energy use. When people start paying a premium for what they use, they suddenly start finding ways to use less.

  4. Elizabeth Parker Avatar
    Elizabeth Parker

    Isn’t the majority of water usage in the Rocky Mountain states used for agriculture and growing hay, and other products, for livestock? I remember being very surprised by the water consumption figures in Utah in the last years. I would always swear in an unfriendly manner when passing a lush green golf course in Utah’s high desert, only to find out comparatively watering lawns and golf courses consumed a minimal amount compared to agriculture in Utah. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I think you are right, except for Nevada. You are right many times over for Idaho.

  6. Elizabeth Parker Avatar
    Elizabeth Parker

    Thanks for the response, Ralph.

    Most Utahns are now aware of the scarcity of water in their mostly desert environment. They are doing a good job of xeriscaping and minimizing their lawn watering. However, I don’t think the general public in Utah is aware of who the really BIG consumers are of water. I think most Utahns would be surprised to find out they are changing their habits all in the name of livestock production.

  7. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Every day I’m amazed how the average American is pushed around by big private interests (who are, by the way often in league with part the government).

    What I mean is this government-versus-private enterprise argument is in large measure a fabrication to keep people confused so that a minority gets while most of us give.

  8. jdubya Avatar

    Elizabeth, You may be right about the public’s perception of lawn watering versus agriculture uses, but there is no question the state, county and local government’s know where the water is going. The amount of water spent in Utah on irrelevant crops such as alfalfa is staggering, but the farmer/rancher subsidies coming out of the state legislature will continue.

    As comparison, look at the recent Logan canal mishap. There is much less concern about how to look after the families with damaged houses, loss of life, etc. versus making sure the water keeps flowing thought a flawed canal system to ensure the agriculture end users get their share. It is all a matter or priorities and the lowly flood victims do not rate.


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.

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Ralph Maughan