Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Water conflicts starting to surface

with 2 comments

If you build a big city in the middle of the desert, a city that features green lawns and lots of fountains, you’re going to need a lot of water. But you’re in the middle of a desert, where water is scarce.

Does anything about that seem crazy to you?

Edvard Petttersson reports in McClatchy:

Las Vegas is seeking to quench its growing thirst by draining billions of gallons of water from under the feet of ranchers whose cattle help feed the Mormon church’s poor.

A legal battle across 275 miles of treeless ridges and baked salt flats comes as the western U.S. faces unprecedented droughts linked to climate change.

The surface of Las Vegas’s main source of water, Lake Mead, is more than 100 feet below Hoover Dam’s spillways after reaching the lowest mark last summer since the dam was filled. As it seeks new sources, the city’s water supplier is waging a court fight over plans to suck as much as 27 billion gallons a year from the valley that is home to the Mormon ranch and its 1,750-head herd, as well as three other rural valleys.

Casino resorts, five of which are Southern Nevada’s largest commercial water users, labor unions and the developer of a 22,500-acre mini-city west of Las Vegas argue their future depends on the water supply that the church, Indian tribes and environmental groups say is needed by local communities.

The fight, likely to echo across the increasingly arid West, conjures up the Los Angeles water grab that turned the once prosperous Owens Valley into a dust bowl.

As cities including Denver and Phoenix look to secure water for growing populations and economies, the prospect of sustained droughts, more severe and sustained than any in the 20th century, looms over Nevada’s court battle, with one pipeline opponent calling it the “poster child” for future showdowns.

The 7,000-acre Cleveland Ranch, established in Spring Valley in 1873 by Maine native Abner “Old Cleve” Cleveland and bought in 2000 by the Mormon church, sits atop an aquifer a dozen-plus miles to the north of Route 50, known from postcards as “America’s Loneliest Highway.” . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 March 2015 at 11:28 am

2 Responses

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  1. Decades ago, thinking people predicted these issues would arise one day. Well, here we are… There are still many who believe the world is not overpopulated. They look at the empty expanses of land in places like North Dakota and Nevada and say, “See?” But it’s never been about square miles. It’s about aquifers.

    Barbra & Jack Donachy

    13 March 2015 at 6:27 pm

  2. And now it’s about depleted aquifers. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” turns out not be much of a plan, once you do come to it.


    13 March 2015 at 6:33 pm

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