Thank you George Knapp, the I-Team, and KLAS TV-8 News NOW.
Your reporting has shown that desalination is cheaper than the Las Vegas watergrab pipeline.
But there are a couple of other reasons desalination is cheaper also.
With desalination, Southern Nevada's water needs can be dealt with incrementally, as needed. The watergrab pipelines, wells, and pumps all have to be built at once – to minimize the disastrous environmental effects expected. This will cost billions. As shown by the Yuma Desalination Facility, smaller bites are far cheaper up front.
If SNWA were to undertake desalination projects, the smaller up front costs would lead to lower finance costs, and much lower risk if Southern Nevada doesn't grow as anticipated.
By insisting on the watergrab pipeline, SNWA is inferring that the residents of Las Vegas pay for water for new residents – and the financing of the massive project. By choosing desalination, the cost of new water could be shifted to developers, and therefore the new residents who will actually be using the water.
In a nutshell; greedy developers want Las Vegas residents to pay for water for developments outside of Las Vegas. I call this Water(grab)gate.
Of course, Southern Nevada politicians are participants in Water(grab)gate also.
SNWA jumped the gun when they spent 70 million dollars on rural ranches for water almost 300 miles away. And now that desalination has dropped in price so much and Las Vegas isn't growing virally, politicians such as Rory Reid (who once headed SNWA) have to pretend desalination isn't a good option.
If SNWA were to admit that the 70 million dollars spent in Rural Nevada was no more than a long term investment (or maybe even a mistake), it would be political suicide for Pat Mulroy, Rory Reid, and likely everyone on the SNWA Board.
But the real cause of all this mess is Nevada State water law. Our State's water law promotes immediate exploitation. There is no option for Las Vegas to save the water for future use. If SNWA were to drop the water apps, someone else would immediately apply to take the water away.
Nevada water law states that those who use the water first get senior water rights. What this means in the real world is those who waste the water get the water for free. Nevada water law just slices up the pie, with no real thought of the future.
If Rory Reid were to say that he wishes to reform Nevada water law to save some water for future use; Las Vegas could get long term water rights to unused water in Rural Nevada, people could still live in and move to Rural Nevada, and at least until Las Vegas is truly desperate (which they are no where near now), a chunk of the Great Basin almost the size of Vermont can remain more or less natural.