Vegas’ water drying up

By John M. Glionna

Los Angeles Times (MCT)

Published: Tuesday, April 22 2014 8:27 p.m. MDT

Barnett argues that’s precisely the wake-up call people need. “All these people assume this water thing will just work itself out. Well, suppose we’re looking at a change in our basic climate, where scarce water is only going to get more scarce. That’s the alternative you need to plan for — and no one’s doing it.”

Many ask why Las Vegas continues to allow projects such as Lake Las Vegas. The lake is filled with 3 billion gallons of Colorado River water, enough to supply 18,000 residences for a year. And 1.4 billion gallons must be added annually to stop the lake from receding.

Davis said the project was conceived well before the current water crisis. “Would we build another man-made lake today? Clearly not. But stop supplying water there and values will plummet. How many lawsuits do you want to wade through regarding people’s quality of life?”

The water authority is pushing forward with a plan for a 300-mile pipeline to import water from the state’s agricultural heartland. The project has touched off such old Nevada grudges as north versus south and claims about urbanites enriching themselves as the expense of rural dwellers.

Environmentalists are challenging in court the right-of-way permits already secured by the water authority, and are promising a long legal battle.

Entsminger, the head of the water authority, believes the American Southwest must fight its water crisis together. He said the seven states drawing water from the Colorado River collectively form the world’s fifth-largest economy — just behind Germany but ahead of France and Britain.

Southern Nevada, he insists, will do its part. And a big part of that, he said, will mean turning off the lawn sprinklers. He acknowledged he’s a culprit.

His front yard features a small patch of ornamental grass planted by the previous homeowners. “I know I should take it out,” the water czar said with a grimace. “It’s on my list.”

©2014 Los Angeles Times. Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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