Mulroy goes to Brookings after years at water authority

Former Southern Nevada Water Authority boss Pat Mulroy will join Brookings Mountain West and the Desert Research Institute, the organizations announced Tuesday.

At Brookings, she will work on local, national and international water research and policy. At DRI, she will hold the Maki Distinguished Faculty Associate position and will lead water resources and technologies programs.

Mulroy will serve as a senior fellow of climate adaptation and environmental policy at Brookings Mountain West, a partnership between the Washington-based Brookings Institution and UNLV. She will also serve as senior fellow for the Brookings Institute’s Metropolitan Policy Program, which provides decision-makers with research and analysis.

In a statement, William Antholis, managing director of the Brookings Institution, said Mulroy’s experience would be “a world class resource to our offices in China, India and in the Middle East, where Pat’s issues are high priorities.”

Mulroy will travel to D.C. to work out of the details of her duties, but said it will likely involve best water practices for cities, where 75 percent of the world’s populations live.

“If you’re working globally you have two major things that are on a collision course: You have an exploding population and (dwindling) natural resources,” said Mulroy, who was the general manager of SNWA from 1993 to February 2014, and was general manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District from 1989 until February 2014.

Mulroy’s position is funded by Barrick Gold and MGM Resorts International, and the work is in sync with Gov. Brian Sandoval’s goals of strengthening technology and manufacturing industries in Nevada.

“If Las Vegas can position itself as the entry place for emerging technologies, then entrepreneurs from around the world who are looking to enter the market (will come here),” she said.

The challenge for Las Vegas is the perception of having more serious water problems than other states that draw water from the Colorado River because of the city’s proximity to the river, she said.

“There has to be a path forward and there has to be a difference in message,” Mulroy said. “That perception isn’t a reality.”

Contact reporter Kristy Totten at ktotten@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3809. Find her on Twitter: @kristy_tea.