Water pipeline fight
Let’s clear up a common mischaracterization about the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plan to pump groundwater from rural eastern Nevada and move it to the Las Vegas Valley for urban use: The agency doesn’t want to build the pipeline. In fact, no one wants to build the pipeline. Not only would it cost a fortune — perhaps as much as $15 billion — but its construction would mean drought along the Colorado River had persisted to the point that the region’s water supply and economies were at risk. No one wants that. Unfortunately, one day the authority might need to build the pipeline to shore up its supply. The valley gets 90 percent of its drinking water from shrinking Lake Mead, which is on course for a federal shortage declaration that will reduce what Nevada and Arizona can draw. Nevada’s neighbors aren’t about to relinquish any part of their shares. And the easiest, cheapest solution to West’s water woes — creating an open, interstate market for Colorado River water and abolishing the arbitrary apportionment of nearly a century ago — is a political nonstarter.