Farming in Callao

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

2 new reports

Two reports were released yesterday (10-24-06) that are of interest to opponents of the Las Vegas water grab.

Las Vegas & The Groundwater Development Project -- Where does it start? - Where will it end? is a report written by Christina Roessler and produced by the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN).

Water in the Urban Southwest -- An updated Analysis of Water use in Albuquerque, Las Vegas Valley, and Tucson was written and edited by Taryn Hutchins-Cabibi, Bart Miller, and Anita Schwartz
Western Resources Advocates and sponsored in association with PLAN.

The first report examines the Las Vegas groundwater project in context of water issues throughout the West, where water for municipalities is getting increasingly hard to find and rural basins are being targeted for water supplies. The report highlights missing "key facts" and unknowns in SNWA's plan to raid water in rural Nevada and Utah.

The project's pricetag is one area the report focuses on. The report indicates that major costs, such as the electric power infrastructure, are not adequately included in SNWA's budget. SNWA repeatedly quotes a figure of $2 billion for the project. According to a Las Vegas Sun news story an SNWA spokesman now says cost estimates top $3.6 and include all power needs, construction contingencies, and inflation (assuming major construction begins in 2010). This is a somewhat different story to that told by SNWA in 2005 when it announced its capital expenditures. The party line then was that the basic cost would be $2 billion but that financing costs would raise the pricetag to $3.6 billion.

Without an accurate pricetag, the BLM will be severely handicapped in its legally mandated responsibility to identify reasonable alternatives in its Environmental Impact Study, currently underway.

The report also says that if Las Vegas were to diminish its per capita consumption of water to the levels attained by Tucson it could save more water than the 180,000 acre-feet SNWA has applied for in rural Nevada (which SNWA denies). The report says that while strides have been made in reducing the outdoor water waste in Las Vegas there is much that can still be done, and that indoor conservation has largely ignored.

The second report -- by researchers with Boulder, Colo.-based Western Resource Advocates -- compared conservation efforts in three desert cities: Tucson, Ariz., Albuquerque, N.M., and Las Vegas. Las Vegas falls well behind Tucson, which has an admirable per capita water consumption rate of 110 gallons per day. They achieve this by a realistic water rate structure that makes it very expensive to waste water. Water rates in the Las Vegas Valley are not structured to realistically foster conservation. Recent public opinion polls in southern Nevada indicate residents are much more worried about electricity bills than about water bills. Unlike Utah hotels and motels, those in Las Vegas typically do not offer visitors a choice of reusing sheets and towels between laundering. To do otherwise would diminish the carefully nourished perception of Fantasy Land.

The first report can be found at

The second report is at

The Las Vegas Sun reported the release in Report says southern Nevada water pipeline plan flawed

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