Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Proposed Groundwater Pipeline Threatens Great Basin

Center for Biological Diversity

The Great Basin ecosystem in Nevada and Utah is under attack by the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which is trying to export groundwater via a 300-mile pipeline to Las Vegas—a city hoping to expand in the driest desert in North America.

This is obviously a bad bet, and we need to say so right away.

The proposal would cut the lifeline of a wild area the size of Vermont. Species that are dependent on the Great Basin ecosystem, like the imperiled greater sage grouse, would be hurt, while some fish and springsnails that live nowhere else on Earth could die off completely.

More than 20,000 of the Center for Biological Diversity’s activists told the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to deny the right-of-way application for the pipeline. Now we need an even bigger push. Ask the Nevada state water engineer to deny the Southern Nevada Water Authority's applications.

There are better options for securing water for Las Vegas than laying waste to the heart of the Great Basin.

Click here to find out more and take action.

Sample letter:

Subject: Deny the Southern Nevada Water Authority Water Rights Applications

To Mr. King,

I am writing to you because I care deeply about the Great Basin and all the plants and animals that live there, and am appalled at the Southern Nevada Water Authority's request to pump and export 57 billion gallons of water annually from our aquifers in central and eastern Nevada. Why would we pump our water to southern Nevada to support unsustainable growth when there are viable means of meeting the water needs through increased conservation, smart growth management and desalination options?

Nevada's "interbasin water transfer statute," NRS 533.370(6), currently requires the state engineer, you, to deny an application for an interbasin transfer of water if he finds that the proposed transfer would not be environmentally sound for the basin being diverted.

While the definition of environmentally sound is absent in the statute, it seems only reasonable to deem the water authority's request as such, given the catastrophic and irreversible impacts that would occur as a result of this groundwater extraction, as documented in the Bureau of Land Management's "draft environmental impact statement" for the pipeline proposal.

Water tables would drop by 200 feet; 192,000-plus acres of prime Great Basin shrubland habitats would be dried, destroyed and converted to dryland grasses and annuals, supporting invasive species like cheatgrass and Sahara mustard. Eight thousand acres of wetlands would be destroyed along with 310 springs and 125 miles of perennial streams.

The toll on species would also be staggering, and some species of desert fish and springsnails would go extinct. Widespread harm to other species would occur, including the imperiled greater sage grouse, southwestern willow flycatcher, Columbia spotted frog, pronghorn and elk.

These applications threaten the very natural heritage of the Great Basin in eastern Nevada and western Utah. Please deny the authority's water-right applications based on the severe, environmentally unsound impacts they would cause. In light of other options available to the authority for meeting reasonable water demands, they should be off the table.

Take action by November 28, 2011.

For more information, click here.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Food Tank

By Danielle Nierenberg and Alonso Diaz

With record high unemployment, a reeling global economy, and concerns of food shortages, the world as we know it is changing. But even as these shifts expose inequities in the health and food systems, many experts hope that the current moment offers an opportunity to build a new and more sustainable food system.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Brian J. Love and Julie Rieland

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the U.S. recycling industry. Waste sources, quantities and destinations are all in flux, and shutdowns have devastated an industry that was already struggling.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Unhealthy foods play a primary role in many people gaining weight and developing chronic health conditions, more now than ever before.

Read More Show Less
A man pushes his mother in a wheelchair down Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami on May 19, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, in a sign that the outbreak is not letting up as the Fourth of July weekend kicks off.

Read More Show Less
To better understand how people influence the overall health of dolphins, Oklahoma State University's Unmanned Systems Research Institute is developing a drone to collect samples from the spray that comes from their blowholes. Ken Y. / CC by 2.0

By Jason Bruck

Human actions have taken a steep toll on whales and dolphins. Some studies estimate that small whale abundance, which includes dolphins, has fallen 87% since 1980 and thousands of whales die from rope entanglement annually. But humans also cause less obvious harm. Researchers have found changes in the stress levels, reproductive health and respiratory health of these animals, but this valuable data is extremely hard to collect.

Read More Show Less

Sunscreen pollution is accelerating the demise of coral reefs globally by causing permanent DNA damage to coral. gonzalo martinez / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On July 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill prohibiting local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks. jacqueline / CC by 2.0

By Kelli McGrane

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks.

Read More Show Less