Last week at the National Water Policy Event I thought I heard Pat Mulroy of the Southern Nevada Water Authority talk about how things had changed in the sense that cooperation and interdependence were now, or becoming, the hallmarks of Western water. But perhaps I misunderstood.
Emily Green, whom I enjoyed meeting in DC last week, shreds that perception in her recent post about SNWA's plan to pump groundwater from Snake Valley, which straddles the Nevada-Utah border. Seems that Ms. Mulroy took umbrage at Utah's opposition to the project.
Right before Congress approved a bill granting Las Vegas the right-of-way to build a water pipeline Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) slipped a provision into the bill requiring Utah's approval before water could be pumped from border valleys.
As negotiations took months, then years, Southern Nevada Water Authority General Manager Pat Mulroy became so incensed by what she regarded as an Utahan “veto” on the Las Vegas pipeline that in 2006 she threatened the editorial board of the Salt Lake Tribune. The longer Utah delayed approval of Las Vegas’ water withdrawals from Snake Valley, she said, “the more uncomfortable it will become for Utah. If they can do it to another state, they can have it done to them, too.”
Mulroy proceeded to file protests with the Utah Department of Natural Resources on Utahan groundwater applications within Beaver and Iron counties.
Cooperation, eh? The aforementioned does not strike me as an example of such; 'competition' is more apropos. More of the SOS.
But there's more. Looks like Utah's Department of Natural Resources might be rolling over faster than a Frenchman during the Resistance - even before the completion of a study on the Snake Valley aquifer. Why?
Read the rest of Emily's post.
Western water attitudes changing? More of the SOS to me.
"You don't empty the water jar until the rain falls, and in the Snake Valley area, the rain doesn't fall very often." --Unknown