High good, low bad: Mead in December 2012

A new Colorado River study highlights the need for conservation while Interior has just rubber-stamped a massive groundwater exploitation project in rural Nevada and similar projects are planned across the dry West.

Is Vegas shortstopping Colorado River water?

The recently published final environmental impact statement for the Las Vegas pipeline shows Southern Nevada arguably tapping Colorado River water as an "instate resource."

BLM’s new “alternative” on Vegas pipe

Ever heard of the Council on Environmental Quality? Chaired by former LA Deputy Mayor Nancy Sutley, it’s a White House office that according to its website  “coordinates Federal environmental efforts.”  To judge by a recent update from the Bureau of Land Management, Sutley’s office may just hold the key for a compromise in a long-running battle over rural groundwater between Utah and Nevada. Using powers supposedly afforded by the Council, the Bureau is adding a new alternative to an environmental impact statement that may allow Vegas to pump and Utah to keep its water too. The only clear loser is the environment.

Nevada State Engineer refills Vegas pipeline

Click on the scoreboard to be taken to a Las Vegas Review-Journal report of yesterday's pipeline decision.

It was never supposed to be a fight. When 22 years ago Las Vegas water manager Pat Mulroy first filed claims on all the theoretically unappropriated water in five rural valleys in eastern Nevada, opponents were supposed to roll over or be crushed. In Mulroy’s corner were all the money and influence that Vegas could bring to bear. A remark reportedly made early in 2007 by Mulroy during a Las Vegas Sun editorial board meeting summed up the odds. In it, when asked what she would do if the State Engineer denied her claims, Mulroy allegedly replied that she would have the Governor of Nevada replace him.

The story may or may not be true*, however, the point is that it could be. It sounds like Pat. No one familiar with what

“Isn’t it true …”

It was a long day yesterday and watching a lawyer for Las Vegas question a water analyst from a California wasn’t supposed to be part of it, until it was. Seldom are courtroom proceedings in real life better than they are on, say, “The Good Wife.” But for the first half of Wednesday, November 9th, 2011, in the on-going Carson City hearings over whether or not to grant a Las Vegas pipeline water from four rural Nevada valleys, reality won.

Appearing for Las Vegas was Steven Sims, a New Mexico-based lawyer better known in California as counsel for the Westlands Water District, the Central Valley corporate farm interest dedicated to overturning the Endangered Species Act the better to siphon massive amounts of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta without regard to water needs of fish.

Appearing as an expert witness for opponents of the pipeline was Peter Gleick

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