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LETTERS: Water plan must look decades ahead

To the editor:

The detailed examination of Las Vegas’ current and future water supply was refreshing (“We have enough,” June 14 Review-Journal). Our water district and community have done a great job maintaining a reliable water supply, despite growth and drought.

However, buried in the story was mention of the proposed White Pine County pipeline, which is now on the back burner, but could be resurrected in the future. Southern Nevada water consumers should vociferously oppose this boondoggle. The $15 billion projected cost will be a financial hardship for many and an economic drag. It’s likely to devastate the Central Nevada ranching economy and environment, and it’s a feast for those who love lawsuits. We need to demand long-term water use plans that work with existing supplies.

The article focused on Colorado River basin water supply over the next several years, largely ignoring planning for future decades. For long-term planning, citizens and community leaders should consider some major water users not mentioned in the article: industry, agriculture and energy.

With regard to industry, we should consider projected water consumption of any future industry that requests tax breaks or zoning alterations.

Agriculture is often depicted as competing with residents for water, but we certainly need California’s agricultural products for our dinner tables. The long-term stability of Southwest water agreements may hinge on citizens understanding the water cost of our food. For example, 1,800 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef, far more than is needed for plant-based proteins. Conscious consumers might consider eating less meat from drought-prone regions.

Energy is perhaps the most important consideration: Electricity generation from coal and fracked natural gas consumes and pollutes huge quantities of water. In 2009, the average American household consumed five times more water to generate electricity than for residential use. Luckily for us in Las Vegas, renewable technologies use very little water, especially wind power and rooftop solar. The potential for water conservation is another reason to accelerate adoption of renewable electric technologies.

I hope the Review-Journal will continue reporting on this important topic and consider long-term and broader issues of water management.



Electric autos in Nevada

To the editor:

The myopic Review-Journal editorial board strikes again (“Electric crazy carnival,” June 21 Review-Journal). Instead of giving kudos to Gov. Brian Sandoval for his forward-thinking decision to partner with a public utility company and invest more taxpayer money in the electric car industry — an industry in which this state has recently made a huge investment via Tesla — your June 21 editorial mocks the concept of state-funded charging stations.

Our country is full of taxpayer-funded projects that have enriched the lives of Americans, such as the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, which provides Las Vegans with a beautiful place to live. The promotion of electric car use is yet another example.

Good ideas are not usually immediately successful. Henry Ford sold only 215 cars his first year; Steve Jobs’ Apple I sold only 175 units. How many vastly improved electric cars will be on Nevada roadways in 20 years? Gov. Sandoval is on the right course.



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