Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

People Voice Overwhelming Opposition for Water Project

Center for Biological Diversity

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) submitted more than 21,200 comments from the public Nov. 29 to the Nevada state engineer opposing granting of water rights to the Southern Nevada Water Authority for its massive groundwater pipeline project. If approved, the project would siphon 57 million gallons of water a year away from rural Nevada and Utah to fuel unsustainable urban growth in southern Nevada, unleashing vast environmental, economic and social harm.

The CBD will also submit the comments to the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s board of directors Nov. 30, at their meeting.

“Aside from being a financial boondoggle, the Water Authority’s proposed pipeline would destroy Nevada’s priceless natural heritage and huge swaths of rural communities,” said Rob Mrowka, a Nevada-based ecologist with the CBD. “There are other, better options for addressing southern Nevada’s long-term water needs.”

A fiscal analysis produced by Las Vegas-based Hobbs, Ong & Associates conservatively pegged the cost of the water project at nearly $15.5 billion—which would saddle millions of ratepayers in Clark County with huge costs for water services for generations. The Water Authority has said publicly that the cost for the project, which would initially include more than 300 miles of pipelines and dozens of well sites in rural east-central Nevada, is $2 billion to $3.6 billion. Under the $15.5 billion estimate, average monthly water bills for residents would increase from $36 to more than $90.

A draft environmental impact statement prepared by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for the pipeline project disclosed that major vegetation and ecosystem changes would occur on more than 200,000 acres, including wetlands that will dry up and wildlife shrubland habitat converted to dryland grasses and noxious weeds. More than 300 springs would also be damaged, along with more than 120 miles of streams. Species such as the Bonneville cutthroat trout, sage grouse, mule deer and elk would suffer major declines as their habitats disappear.

“It doesn’t make sense to rob Nevada’s wildlife and these rural areas of the water they need just to quench the thirst of unsustainable growth, whether it’s Las Vegas or Coyote Springs,” said Mrowka. “It’s time for our county and municipal leaders to start talking about creating sustainable communities in the face of dwindling water supplies and a hotter, drier climate. Clearly the old paradigm of a growth-driven economy has failed and will not lead to a promising future.”

Among the options not seriously studied by the Water Authority are aggressive conservation; investment in modern and efficient indoor and outdoor water appliances and devices; expanded development of ocean desalinization; reworking the sorely outdated laws governing the Colorado River’s water; and the Authority’s own general manager’s suggestion of diversion of the flood waters of the Mississippi. The Water Authority has never produced an analysis comparing the costs, benefits and risks of the various alternatives, but instead has single-mindedly pursued the groundwater-mining solution.

For more information, click here.

—————

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 320,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A protest against the name of the Washington Redskins in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Nov. 2, 2014. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.

Read More Show Less
The survival tools northern fish have used for millennia could be a disadvantage as environmental conditions warm and more fast-paced species move in. Istvan Banyai / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma

Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.

Read More Show Less
A mother walks her children through a fountain on a warm summer day on July 12, 2020 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Gary Hershorn / Getty Images

A heat wave that set in over the South and Southwest left much of the U.S. blanketed in record-breaking triple digit temperatures over the weekend. The widespread and intense heat wave will last for weeks, making the magnitude and duration of its heat impressive, according to The Washington Post.

Read More Show Less
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus. blackCAT / Getty Images

By Joni Sweet

If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of burnt areas of the Amazon rainforest, near Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil, on Aug. 24, 2019. CARLOS FABAL / AFP via Getty Images

NASA scientists say that warmer than average surface sea temperatures in the North Atlantic raise the concern for a more active hurricane season, as well as for wildfires in the Amazon thousands of miles away, according to Newsweek.

Read More Show Less
A baby receives limited treatment at a hospital in Yemen on June 27, 2020. Mohammed Hamoud / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Oxfam International warned Thursday that up to 12,000 people could die each day by the end of the year as a result of hunger linked to the coronavirus pandemic—a daily death toll surpassing the daily mortality rate from Covid-19 itself.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The 2006 oil spill was the largest incident in Philippine history and damaged 1,600 acres of mangrove forests. Shubert Ciencia / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Jun N. Aguirre

An oil spill on July 3 threatens a mangrove forest on the Philippine island of Guimaras, an area only just recovering from the country's largest spill in 2006.

Read More Show Less