Guess what. There is an alternative to sucking dry an area of Central Nevada almost the size of Vermont... an alternative that doesn't create a wasteland here.
Southern Nevada could build desalination plants for California off the Pacific coast in exchange for a bigger allotment of the Colorado River. We could make it very attractive to California. We could offer them 10% percent more water... or 20%... or even 30%.
Yes, desalination may cost more than just taking water from your neighbors, but it still leaves you with options in the future.
The ground water here hasn't gone anywhere for tens of thousands of years. And it won't be going anywhere soon if we only pump it out for critical needs. Nevada law presently states that Nevada residents can pump the water out if they can show “beneficial use.” The law was written in the 1800's for small farms, not major industries or massive exportation. Nowadays, this law essentially means that the first to waste the water can be the ones to have it. If we can modify this law to interpret “beneficial use” as drinking water, water for crops and livestock, and most notably ignored at present, water to save for future generations; then the water will be there when we really need it.
As far as the cost is concerned, I'm still not convinced that desalination is that much more expensive – and new technology promises to make it far less expensive. Anyway, the people who move to Southern Nevada should pay for it. Their presence here will be the reason that there will be a need for that extra water. And you can bet that these people have no desire to destroy Nevada, the place they love so much that they're willing to move here.
Let's do desalination first. This is our home. We won't get a second chance.