Sunday, June 18, 2017

Watergrab Tour Spring Valley Forest

Spring Valley reminds me of a line from an old Rage Against the Machine song (No Shelter):
bury the past, rob us blind …and left nothing behind.”

This was once a happy place. My ancestors came here to socialize and dance. This was a gathering place. My ancestors were hunter/gatherers who lived in small groups of extended family. But sometimes these small groups would get together for what we might now call a Fandango or a Pow Wow. This was where my ancestors hooked up. This was a place to fall in love.

But that ended with the massacres.

Now the memories are all painful. We come here now to remember all that was taken from us – the lives, the land, the game, the water. Little here is ours now. But, at least we can still come here to visit. 

Spring Valley with Great Basin National Park in background

As anyone can see, this “test” well has not been decommissioned. It sits here, waiting to be used as a Watergrab well. If you look uphill, you can see the source of water; the Great Basin National Park. If you look downhill, you can see the swamp cedar forest. This well was obviously placed here to steal the water for that forest. And the groundwater table doesn't have to drop very far to kill this whole forest.

In a matter of years, not decades, this whole valley forest could die. And even our memories of this place will die with it. All that will be left will be some words in some old unread books.

This forest, and the Joshua tree forest in Delamar Valley, are some of the last of Nevada's valley forests. These places matter. In fact, they matter far more than a forest of invasive species of palm trees in Las Vegas that would die in a week without human intervention.

The investors in Las Vegas growth, many of whom don't even live in Las Vegas, don't care about Rural Nevada. All they care about are the numbers they have in their banks. But Spring Valley is a bank too. It is a natural bank of genetic options Life on Earth has to adapt to changes in the Environment. And the Environment is changing. There may be something out here that Life on Earth will desperately need to keep a natural balance – to keep humanity alive. No one knows.

What we do know is that killing this rare high desert valley forest with so much history is wrong. Especially when we know that most of the water would be used to water decorative shrubbery in Southern Nevada. What an extravagant waste. In fact, it could be argued that we can't think of anything stupider to do with this water.

And speaking of stupid – and needlessly greedy; Southern Nevada has tried twice to gut the environmental and economic protections of Nevada Water Law to expedite this Watergrab exportation. We don't want to change Nevada Water Law to make it easier to exploit. We want to change Nevada Water Law to make it easier to live sustainably.

We need a rational, reasonable, respectful, long-term alternative to taking everything and leaving nothing for future generations. This is why you are here.

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