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« 35 Years of Water Policy: The 1973 National Water Commission and Present Challenges | Main | 2009 AWRA Annual Water Resources Conference Program Available »

Tuesday, 04 August 2009


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michael dale

The first link (from 2008) will take one to Pat Mulroy’s Brookings Institute paper wherein she defines a role for the new President in dealing with climate change and its affect(s) on water supplies, particularly western water supplies. Among the cornerstones are regional cooperation, hydrologic research, etc.
One example of regional cooperation touted is the Metropolitan Water District/SNWA plan to “bank” unused Nevada water in the deserts of southern California.
The second link will take one to a Las Vegas Review Journal article coving a proposed vote by the SNWA board (scheduled for August 20, 2009) to push ahead with its plans to acquire the necessary permits for the pipeline to (eventually) Snake Valley, Nevada . The vote is being ramrodded by Ms. Mulroy. Opposition to a pipeline is apparently a sign of utter intractableness when it comes to cooperation.
Finally, one link to an article from today’s Las Vegas Sun. One theme is that groundwater models are great things, so long as they support the political opinion of the day.
Charles Barkley once claimed to have been misquoted – in his own autobiography. Perhaps one of the actors in this drama has also been misquoted in either a Brookings paper or in the SNWA press release to the local newspaper.

Paul F. Miller

Thank you Mr. Carlton for your input on the groundwater situation in northeast Nevada & western Utah from a different perspective.

I too would have to lose the FSNWR or any other areas where water is currently available. If I learned anything in my youth in Nevada, it was to honor and respect water and to understand its value.

Stephen Carlton

During the mid-1980’s I completed a master’s degree at Univ. Nevada Reno. One of the requirements was a master’s thesis. I prepared a groundwater flow model covering the Snake Valley along with Pine Valley, Tule Valley, Fish Springs Flat, and Wah Wah Valley. The model is old work (1983 - 1985) based on older work (USGS 1960's Hydro Reconnaissance Reports). I am not sure that it adds anything to the story, and it is so simple by today’s modeling standards that it provides limited use for the Snake Valley Story.

The model did do one thing for the first time, it linked the five valleys into one hydrogeologic flow system. But, like I said, it is old work.

The one thing that does concern me is the effect that pumping in Snake Valley will have on springs in the combined five-valley flow system, especially Fish Springs Flats. The water budget for Fish Springs Flat is way in the RED. For example, my model estimates are as follows: local basin recharge for Fish Springs Valley is 6,500 AFY broken out - 4,000 AFY recharge and 2,500 AFY subsurface inflow; and local basin discharge for Fish Springs Valley (which includes the Fish Spring National Wildlife Refuge) is 53,500 AFY broken out - 28,000 AFY spring discharge, 8,500 AFY underflow out to
the Great Salt Lake, and 17,000 AFY evapotranspiration. 47,000 AFY is coming from some place, and Snake Valley is one likely candidate. It would be a shame to lose the FS NWR.

Steve Carlton


Water Cooperation, Las Vegas-Style ...It remains to be yet determined how the SNWA “taking” of water from northeast Nevada, which some water experts conclude intrudes on Utah water, will play out. I suspect that as long as the Democrats hold force in the US Senate and Harry Reid remains Senate Majority Leader and an elected Senator from Nevada that SNWA will have an exceptionally strong ally in their camp.

It strikes me that cooperation, especially in the west; respecting – water – is fundamentally always in play and at any given moment depends on the best deal currently on the table. These same deals are highly influenced by the respective players in the game at any given moment and as these players change, the deals seem to morph, reflecting the a repositioning, the result of presumed changes in strength.

I am sure my personal attitude respecting how the Colorado River was initially allocated in 1922 reflects the fact I was born and raised in Las Vegas. I don’t think one necessarily needs to be a mathematician to conclude that Nevada drew an incredibly short straw when this allocation was made and has ever since sucked hind tit respecting water. Having said that, I conclude while one can make the case the initial allocation may well have been unfair, this does not grant SNWA carte-blanche authority to run roughshod over any area in its state or another and “take” its water, knowing full well water is the very life blood to any community or area in the West

Perhaps Las Vegas is to become the very first “metro” area required to “cap” its growth due to an inability to provide a sustainable water supply for an ever increasing population. Was that to occur, I do not believe Las Vegas will be the only such “metro” area to face such a decision. I have no doubt a similar decisions await Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, Albuquerque and host of other communities all dependent upon the water from the diminishing Colorado River and its tributaries.

Thus far “the West” and the American residing in this area have not been inclined in the least to see water from a perspective of a water-shed-area. Generationally we have been education and acculturated to view water as parochial, extremely territorial and positional. Is it any wonder then why our view of water cooperation is reflective of our generational teachings…?

Paul F. Miller
striving to promote sustainable awareness



... everyone has the right to clean & accessible water, adequate for the health & well being of the individual & family, and no one shall be deprived of such access or quality of water due to individual economic circumstances ...

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Call it like you see it. (I see it that way too!)

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