October 20, 2014
Backers of a two (b) billion-dollar plan to pipe rural Nevada water to booming Las Vegas are pressing for state approval -- as critics renew pleas to stop what they fear is a repeat of a Los Angeles water grab that parched California's Owens Valley.
The state water engineer's hearings opened with word that four
federal agencies are dropping protests to the Southern Nevada Water
Authority plans to draw about 91-thousand acre-feet of water yearly
from the Spring Valley, on the Nevada-Utah border.
The Spring Valley plan is a key element of overall plans to get
about 180-thousand acre-feet of water a year from rural Nevada.
The National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of
Indian Affairs and federal Fish and Wildlife Service reached the
pre-hearing agreements with the S-N-W-A. That prompted Simeon
Herskovits of the Western Environmental Law Center, which is
opposing the pumping plan, to call the agencies "sellouts."
Pat Mulroy, the S-N-W-A's general manager, says a drought cycle
mandates the need for the water. She adds there's no way a repeat
of the early-1900s water grab that dried up California's Owens
Valley could occur in Nevada. Herskovits says that's a bad bet.