The founder of the Southern Nevada Water Authority prefers “Pat” to “Patricia.” But she is more like a William. The phonetical coincidence of another Muh-villain on the scene of Western water aside, no one since William Mulholland in 1890s Los Angeles has shown quite such iron will to build a city in sand. Mulroy’s solution to 20th and 21st Century water shortages in Las Vegas has been to dust off Mulholland’s 19th century solution and propose running a pipeline nearly 300 miles north into rural Nevada. There, the damage caused will be out of sight and out of mind, save for the residents of central, Eastern Nevada, whose valleys and ranches stand to turn to dust as the water is pumped out from underneath them.
As she pushes forward with the as yet unbuilt pipeline project, like Mulholland, Mulroy has had to go into the cattle business as part of diverting water from ranchers. Here she addresses a group of rural ranchers on the White Pine County Commission about whether or not the Southern Nevada Water Authority will be paying the taxes lost by the County after Las Vegas bought a succession of local ranches that just happened to have the best water. Photo: Emily Green