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Desalting plant a part of local water solution

To the editor:

After years of persistent drought, this summer Lake Mead’s water level hit its lowest point in 50 years. While most of Lake Mead’s flows are used to support agricultural production, this reservoir is also the primary source of drinking water for residents of several Western states, including Nevada, and Mexico.

Yet while some view the Colorado as a river in crisis, water managers across the West view the Lake Mead shortage as an opportunity — a chance to identify and enact collaborative strategies that conserve and stretch the Colorado River’s limited water supply.

One of these collaborative measures is the Yuma desalting plant in Arizona. After years of dormancy, the Bureau of Reclamation is in the midst of a year-long pilot run of the plant in collaboration with the Southern Nevada Water Authority and other water agencies from California and Arizona.

The Yuma plant is North America’s largest brackish water reverse osmosis desalting plant. It essentially removes the salt from agricultural wastewater and salvages it to augment the Colorado River’s overall water supply. Restarted in May, the plant is ramping up on schedule.

It is operating at 30 percent capacity and, when combined with blend water, will produce 29,000 acre feet of water — a relatively modest amount, but a contribution nonetheless to the needs of water users throughout the Lower Basin.

Thanks to bi-national discussions, the project could also benefit wildlife that depend on the Cienega de Santa Clara wetlands in Mexico, safeguarding this vital ecosystem.

To be sure, desalination is not a silver bullet, but the West needs to be proactive when it comes to water supply problems, especially in an era of climate change. And that means working together to identify innovative solutions.

The Yuma desalting plant represents a common-sense approach to our shared water problems. It could not have happened without federal, state and bi-national cooperation, and the willing efforts of multiple agencies including the Bureau of Reclamation, the water authority, conservation organizations in the United States and Mexico, and others.

Innovation, conservation and collaboration can help to sustain the Colorado River — the lifeblood of our communities, environment and economies, and an irreplaceable icon of the Western landscape.

Bill Rinne

Las Vegas

The writer is director of surface water resources for the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Root problem

To the editor:

In response to Wayne Allyn Root’s Sunday column, “Please, Mr. Obama, take more vacations”:

Apparently, Mr. Root believes his fellow Columbia alum, President Barack Obama — who graduated with him in 1983 — and Vice President Joe Biden are idiots.

Well, Mr. Root has never held elective office. Never won a formal election. He loses every time he enters an elective race. Then the Republicans turned him away, too, and suddenly he became a Libertarian. He has no idea how to make decisions that affect 300 million Americans.

In my book, Mr. Root is not an idiot with his rants and raves. Just a sore loser.

President Obama saved this country from a major depression and stopped the war in Iraq. President Obama got 40 million people without health care put on the rolls. And citizens who were denied coverage for pre-existing conditions are now also covered.

President Obama will also stop the war in Afghanistan as soon as possible. President Obama will also be ending “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

What has Mr. Root done to help this country get better except become a rich entrepreneur?

Alfonso Reyes

Las Vegas

Bus stop

To the editor:

During the recently televised debate between gubernatorial candidates Rory Reid and Brian Sandoval, I was very concerned when Mr. Sandoval stated that part of his plan to save money would be to privatize school bus transportation in the state.

Both my wife and I are school bus drivers here in Clark County and have more than nine years’ experience. I find his statement to be very ironic, when you consider the recent findings concerning the costs of educating and transporting children of illegal aliens here in Nevada to be more than $722 million. Yet Mr. Sandoval wants us to sacrifice our jobs to a private company in order to save money to continue this insane policy?

What’s this country coming to?

Richard Cicerelle

Las Vegas

Just the facts

To the editor:

For several weeks now, we have been hearing Rep. Dina Titus’ television spots claiming that GOP challenger Joe Heck wants to put women’s health in danger because he feels that health insurance companies should not have to pay for Gardasil shots. Purportedly, these shots prevent cervical cancer and are recommended for girls as young as 9 years of age and for young women.

Researching Gardasil through Google reveals that there are three shots required, and that there are some very serious side effects related to this drug. Cervical cancer can almost always be prevented by practicing safe sex. I would not want to subject my young daughter to the risks associated with this drug.

Before going into the voting booth this November, let’s arm ourselves with the facts.

Bernice Poliandro

North Las Vegas

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