The Southern Nevada Water
Authority, upon which our own ABCWUA was proudly modeled, is being pushed into a vote on a massive pipeline project tonight.
John Fleck sent around this link to Chance of Rain in which Emily Green posts a cheeky letter to the SNWA board. She fully captures the scale, history and hubris of the project. No flinching.
Patricia Mulroy, who is the Authority Water Manager and mastermind, was called the Water Empress in a long-ago High Country News story. Emily has a long list of other sources and quotes in this related post.
The letter to the board, In Praise of Pat, is worth a whole read but here's an excerpt about the masterminding:
Getting Great Basin Desert groundwater for Las Vegas has been her mission since her appointment to general managership of the Las Vegas Valley Water District in 1989.
She hadn’t been in the job a year when she staked 148 claims for the groundwater of 30 valleys. Pat’s fistful of paper water, accounting for half of the notionally available groundwater in the state, is what gave her the clout and bait to form the SNWA.
And Emily's conclusion - which brings us back to the meeting this evening - asking a question we know the answer to and offering a helpful suggestion:
Why the push from Pat? You don’t need to approve the pipeline this week. You meet every third Thursday of the month. What you need to ask yourself is: If you deliberately turn a blind eye to catastrophe foretold and that catastrophe does come to the Great Basin, what will your legacy be to Nevada? And Pat’s legacy?
You deserve the facts and Pat deserves a new job. Pat has served Las Vegas indefatigably. She is best at conservation and deserves a bigger remit doing just that in a place where there is the most water to be saved, and most bumbling incomprehension of how to do it. That is California.
Los Angeles, California