Las Vegas Sun

August 21, 2018

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For Want of Water

— Interactive by Zach Wise

Las Vegas was first settled for its springs, springs that made it an oasis in the desert. Although those springs have decades since run dry, water is still the most import resource to Las Vegas and the dry Southwest.

And by all indications the region is only going to get dryer. Scientists predict devastating effects from global warming, conservationists are calling for a halt to growth in Southern Nevada as a way to preserve supplies and water managers are looking to ever more creative ways to reduce reliance on the overburdened Colorado River. A Colorado River reservoir at Lake Mead is the source of 90 percent of the valley's water supply. Water levels there have fallen steadily for nearly a decade.

Now Southern Nevada water managers say they can no longer rely on the river so heavily, and must construct a massive pipeline to draw water stored underground for centuries in rural Nevada to Las Vegas. They say no amount of conservation can replace the need for this backup source of drinking water.

Opponents say the effects of the pumping would be devastating and that the plan would sacrifice a rural, ranching way of life in Eastern Nevada for casinos and tract home in the south.

But it's not only the lack of water that worries environmentalists and water managers alike. It's also water quality, the endangered species that life in Southern Nevada's rivers and streams and the recreation opportunities that make the region's national parks so popular.

Water is one of the most politically charged issues in Nevada today, and it's certainly one of the most important.

Phoebe Sweet

Water authority ups bounty for removing grass
Water authority ups bounty for removing grass
Monday, August 20, 2018
Landscaper Dane Keiser is bracing for a surge in business after the Southern Nevada Water Authority upped its bounty for removing grass to conserve water. Instead of paying $2 per square foot of grass exchanged for ...
State water chief rejects big Las Vegas pipeline pumping plan
State water chief rejects big Las Vegas pipeline pumping plan
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Photo: A view of the bathtub ring at Lake Mead as viewed
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Photo: The Colorado River, which is the main source of wa
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Arizona water officials committed Thursday to reach a multi-state plan by the end of the year to stave off Colorado River water shortages, or at least lessen the impact ...
Photo: Laughlin casino lights are reflected in the Colora
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Photo: Lake Mead's water level is shown from Boulder City
Careful planning, conservation helps L.V. delay critical water shortages suffered elsewhere
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Photo: A bird's-eye view of the Las Vegas Strip at dusk,
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The Las Vegas Strip only consumes about 1 percent of all water allocated to the state from the Colorado River ...
Photo: This Aug. 29, 2002, photo, shows the Colorado Rive
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The outlook for the most important river in the Southwestern U.S. remains grim this summer after April storms failed to produce much snow in the ...
Arizona utility tries to end multistate Colorado River feud
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Arizona's largest water provider tried Tuesday to defuse a multistate dispute over the Colorado River, saying it regretted the belligerent-sounding words it used to describe its ...