Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Water war heats up

Central Nevada farmers like Roderick McKenzie fear booming Las Vegas is going to suck them dry. They're fighting a plan to pump billions of gallons of water south across the desert, saying it would eat up groundwater supplies and could spell the end for ranchers and farmers in rural valleys.

With one ruling in hand for billions of gallons of rural Nevada water, the water supplier for sprawling southern Nevada is pressing for billions of additional gallons a year -- in a move that pits farmers and ranchers against developers eager to keep the gambling mecca booming.

..."SNWA could turn this vast area into a national sacrifice zone for the sake of unchecked growth in Las Vegas," Fulkerson said.

...Critics have likened the water authority's proposal to a Los Angeles water grab that parched California's once-fertile Owens Valley, while the water authority contends there's no way a repeat of that early-1900s water grab could occur.

The events surrounding the Owens Valley, about 250 miles north of Los Angeles, go back to 1913, when an aqueduct was built to bring water to Los Angeles' fast-growing San Fernando Valley. The events were fictionalized in the 1974 movie "Chinatown."

From the Jackson Hole Star Tribune