A controversial water pipeline that pitted Las Vegas against a rural area in Nevada for 30 years was ended for now. The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) — in charge of Las Vegas’ water supply — doesn’t currently view the rural groundwater as vital. Conservation by Las Vegas metro area households and businesses has driven down water use and the need for outside water.
The proposed 300-mile pipeline from eastern Nevada was opposed by environmentalists, ranchers and Native American tribes who noted that pumping so much water could dry wells, hurt wildlife and disrupt ecosystems. The fact that SNWA abandoned the project by not appealing a court ruling is a positive sign for water use in the Western United States. As water author and professor, John Fleck, writes:
This is one of the most striking examples to date of the argument I’ve been making ever since I had the epiphanies that drove my work a half decade ago on Water is For Fighting Over – municipal water demand is declining as fast as, or faster than, population growth, opening up enormous opportunities in our pursuit of sustainable water management in the West.