The federal Bureau of Land Management last week signed on a massive pipeline project that could move billions of gallons of water to thirsty Las Vegas from rural counties along the Nevada-Utah line.
The record of decision, signed by Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes, authorizes the BLM to issue a right of way to the Southern Nevada Water Authority for the 263-mile pipeline from agricultural valleys north or Ely.
“This is a huge milestone for Southern Nevada,” said Pat Mulroy, the water authority’s general manager. Being able to “draw upon a portion of our own state’s renewable groundwater supplies reduces our dependence on the drought-prone Colorado River and provides a critical safety net.”
Although the plan has been in the works ifor 25 years, congratulations may still be premature. Ms. Mulroy has little doubt more anti-development lawsuits are on the way.
In fact, the water authority would just as soon not build this project, which comes with a price tag variously estimated from $2 billion to $15 billion. Unfortunately, changing the law of the Colorado to allow interstate water purchases at market rates – the best solution – is still not politically feasible.
Though certainly, if that day ever comes, it will help Nevada’s case to be able to say everything else has been tried.