Las Vegas' allotment from the Colorado River amounts to about four inches of Lake Mead water level per year. This is only a small fraction of the total water taken from the river.
In contrast, for a while in 2004, California was draining Lake Mead's water level at the rate of over a foot a week! Southern California has been, for a number of years, taking three times it's allotment from the Colorado River. In 2004, when the Lake Mead water level got so low that the generators at Hoover Dam might have to be shut down, SNWA apparently panicked. This led to the draining of Lake Powell too.
If California would have kept to it's allotment, the water crises of lakes Mead and Powell may have been averted. So, why didn't Southern Nevada Water Authority scream and shout while Lake Mead was being drained?
Let me also point out that every lake on the Colorado River below Lake Mead was full.
It almost looks like this crisis was contrived. Why would SNWA allow this to happen? What would they possibly want? To panic Las Vegans? To get the sympathy of the rest of the State of Nevada? Maybe even to get momentum to “diversify” their sources of water – at the expense of Rural Nevada.
Southern Nevada Water Authority has been trying to take water from Central Nevada since the late 1980's, but nobody would put up with it... not even the residents of Las Vegas. Now that there appears to be a “crisis,” it looks like SNWA might get their way.
Consider this: Since there are no reserves of water in Lakes Mead and Powell, the resistance to building the pipeline network is being ignored, and they've already found a developer (who wants to build a community out in the desert) who is willing to pay them to “deliver” (not sell, because for now, that's illegal) water at a very profitable price. How convenient...
If someone were scheming to make illegitimate billions, the next steps would be to soften up Nevada's legal restrictions and privatize SNWA. But they wouldn't do that until they got approval to take the water.
If someone were scheming to make illegitimate billions, they could be stopped if we just do the right thing, and not allow them to take the water from Central Nevada... SNWA can and obviously should build California desalination plants in exchange for a bigger allotment of the Colorado River.