Southern Nevada Water Authority has spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to “inform” us how green they are. They still don't look green to me.
On KNPR “The State of Nevada,” Kay Brothers, from SNWA, is still claiming that the construction of the water pipeline network will cost $2 billion dollars. This is the same price they've claimed for at least a decade. Hey, why hasn't inflation effected SNWA's costs? An independent study, conducted by Mifflin and Associates, estimated the cost to be as much as $20 billion – ten times as much as the questionable SNWA “estimate.” Even if the population of Las Vegas doubles, that would amount to $5000 for every person in the city – before the price of the water gets marked up to pay for the power to run the pumps and, of course, OVERHEAD! When you consider the fact that if Southern Nevada were to grow responsibly; and only grow based upon the water they conserve, the water grab wouldn't be necessary – and they would save $20 billion.
Kay also stated that there is no science to support the possibility that North Snake Valley could become uninhabitable from salt intrusion into their underground aquifers. What she didn't say was that also means there is no science to support that it won't happen either. This is exactly what Utah is concerned about. The USGS BARCAS study didn't cover it. All we have is a statement from Kimball Goddard, the Director of USGS in Nevada, that it could happen.
SNWA has been constantly telling us that they're going to monitor the “at risk” areas. So what? Since they met with White Pine County in 2006, they have never been willing to commit to stopping pumping under any conditions.
SNWA has promised to only drill wells far away from environmentally sensitive sites. This might protect these sensitive sites for a while, but as the water drawdown spreads, its inevitable that it will eventually reach the sites. And when it does, damage will be unstoppable. The water will already be gone from the wells.
Pat Mulroy, the director of SNWA, has pointed out that Las Vegas needs “drought protection.” In case she didn't know, White Pine County is right in the middle of a serious drought. It might even be caused by the same global warming she sites as an excuse for the water grab. Since global warming is reducing the flow of the Colorado River, maybe it's also reducing the water recharge into the valleys SNWA wants to export water from. If Pat's global warming scenario is real, the BARCAS study may have grossly over-estimated the water in Rural Nevada and Utah.
In the radio broadcast, Kay Brothers mentioned the word “mitigate” quite a number of times. SNWA's tactic of last resort appears to be pay everybody off. Add a few more bucks to that $20 billion bill.