Water authority chief wants vote on pipeline plans

Water authority chief wants vote on pipeline plans

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LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority wants a vote on plans to suck some water from the Snake Valley and send it to Las Vegas.

Pat Mulroy said Thursday she wants the vote held later this month to show there is still desire to move forward with the project. "The level of noise has reached the point that we have to begin to push back," Mulroy said. "They're trying to create an erosion of will to build the project. It becomes death by a thousand cuts."

The Snake Valley aquifer stretches across Nevada and Utah. Plans have called for eventually delivering rural groundwater to the Las Vegas Valley through a pipeline that could stretch more than 300 miles and cost up to $3.5 billion. The pipeline could supply enough water for almost 270,000 homes.

Authority board members on Aug. 20 will vote on whether the agency should keep seeking federal permits and environmental clearances for the pipelines network.

The seven-member board includes three county commissioners and one council member each from Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and Boulder City.

Shari Buck, North Las Vegas mayor, said the vote comes down to sustaining people's lives in Las Vegas.

"I don't know if it will be unanimous, but I think the majority of the board realizes the gravity of the situation," said Buck, who chairs the water authority board.

Environmentalists have voiced concerns the project could dry up the valley around Great Basin National Park and potentially send dust storms toward Utah's Wasatch Front.

The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada said it has collected 16,000 signatures in the last month from southern Nevada residents who don't want the pipeline.

Launce Rake, a member of the alliance, said the water authority has changed the rationale for the pipeline, first saying water was needed for growth and now saying it's needed to protect the community from drought.

"It's their last card," Rake said. "It's all they have left."


Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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