Water Fight Of The Century, Part 3

This is my final installment (For Now) of my story on the proposed SNWA water pipeline through rural Nevada. While I was contemplating this final piece, I thought a lot about my own thoughts on the growth of Las Vegas.

I was born in Las Vegas in 1975–the population then was less than 200,000. When we look at today’s population in 2009 of over 2 million people county-wide–it should blow anyone’s mind just to see these numbers-! I’ve personally watched 4 hotel casinos demolished/imploded, I watch the first shovel go into the ground in the area now known as Summerlin, I saw Las Vegas go from having 12 high schools to now over 40, and that doesn’t include private schools. In fact, I’ve seen so much change in Las Vegas since being born here that I could list pages just on those experiences alone.

So today, we see a city that grew too fast, infrastructure that couldn’t keep up with the pace of development, and a shortage of natural and artificial resources. How do we solve the problems we now face? There are a variety of opinions on these matters by various elected officials, community leaders, and government officials. I’ve yet to find one person who has the answers to all of our problems in the Las Vegas valley–however, I do believe that a collaborative effort could reap some valuable and sensible results.

The final question that Mr. Hank Vogler answered for me was this: The Southern Nevada Water Authority has said that this pipeline is crucial to the future of Southern Nevada–do you believe this statement to be true? If not, then why is it being sold to Las Vegas residents that we MUST have this to sustain future growth?

Mr. Vogler responded by saying, “My first thought is that the yield of these valleys will be so low that there has to be another reason to scare people in Las Vegas. I would look at Coyote Springs more as the reason why the pipeline is being built. Why would a developer, wanting to build an oasis in the desert with all those golf courses and homes and infrastructure, sell half his water rights to SNWA for $25 million dollars? I doubt that Coyote Springs with all its water rights in tact could be enough to build the entire development. Las Vegas needs water and the long-term solution is going to be desalinization. Without the pipeline. No Coyote Springs. Now tell me again with a straight face, who needs the pipeline more? Coyote Springs? Or Las Vegas? Long-term sustainable growth in Las Vegas will be served better by the Pacific Ocean than destroying the sixteen rural counties of Nevada. The sixteen rural counties of Nevada do not have enough water to handle the growth of Reno and Las Vegas. We have the ability to alter rural Nevada forever. Not sure that history will speak kindly of the perpetrators.”

The purpose of my writing this 3 part series on the water issues in Nevada was to bring awareness to the public on the significant impact this pipeline will have on rural Nevada. As someone who enjoys driving around this state, I would hate to see our beautiful desert and lush ranch-lands destroyed by a pipeline. While I do come from the big city, as a child my Grandfather took me on trips all around rural Nevada. I spent many summers in Ely, Elko, and Lake Tahoe, and learned at a young age to respect our states rural lands and ranching communities. It is my hope that if there truly is an alternative to building this pipeline, we should entertain it. Nevada is a wonderful, beautiful, and serene place–we should respect agriculture, and Ranchers in our state…even someone like me from the big city knows that!

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 Nevada

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