A picture can be worth a thousand words, Lake Mead Water Levels. Once the water was below 1,145 feet, the watch was shifted to a Drought Alert—that status was reached in May 2003. When the lake's water level dropped below 1,125 feet, a Drought Emergency went into effect.
GRACE is a NASA/German Aerospace Satellite study found this "GRACE findings show that, since the late 1990s, the arid Central Valley has lost about 50 cubic kilometers (12 cubic miles) of groundwater, or 1.5 times the volume of Lake Mead, the largest man-made reservoir in the United States. In the U.S., we see the Ogallala Aquifer and the Central Valley" Combined these two farm land areas make up 33% of the United States Irrigated farm land. One third of our Nations irrigated food producing land has under ground aquifers which are going dry.
Drought a threat to state's economy. The state's worst single-year drought on record has exposed an Achilles' heel of Texas' business climate. WATER
The science is very clear and we are dedicated to share it with you here.
Excerpts from Southwest Hydrology September/October 2008, with some Commentary!
Early in U.S. history, public policy was fashioned to encourage settlement of the West. Laws such as the Homestead Act of 1862 and the Desert Lands Act of 1877 were framed to transfer government land to settlers. In 1902 the Reclamation Act provided funding for construction and maintenance of western irrigation projects.
In its first annual report (1903), Reclamation had this to say "So that the remaining public lands will furnish the greatest possible number of homes, is an object worthy of the sustained effort of enlightened and patriotic citizens”.
The public works that followed included such things as Hoover Dam, Shasta Dam, Newlands project, Yuma Project, Klamath project, Hetchy Aqueduct, and many more. With the 1902 Reclamation act the face of the West was changed forever.
It must be pointed out and understood, these efforts and projects were directed at irrigation needs, based on a population that farmed for a living.
Demographers say that the West is now, today, the most urbanized region of the nation (based on the percentage of the population living in cities), as well as the region experiencing the greatest population growth. Regional planners can not find growth models in history to compare to what they believe is coming to Lincoln County over the next few years.
Southern Nevada Water Authority Pipeline Proposal
Eight BIG projects are currently proposed in four states. The one most relevant to Rural Eastern Nevada, Southern Idaho, and Western Utah is the ground water transfer project to build a 327 mile long pipe from East Central Nevada to Las Vegas. They propose to transfer 164,000 acre feet year of groundwater from six basins, at an estimated cost of $3.5 Billion to build. The project actually entails 200,000 afy with 36,000 afy being left in Lincoln County.
This estimate of 3.5 Billion has been estimated by many others after careful review to cost more than double, or closer to $7,000,000,000. Las Vegas water users,all who consume water provided by SNWA will bear the brunt of this huge cost.
The EIS study is intended to insure and protect existing water users and environmental resources from unreasonable effects. Nevertheless, many rural Nevadans object to the project, believing it may impact their region despite these precautions.
SNWA Begs for Federal Funds? SNWA never should have paid the crazy prices for ranches they bought in Lincoln and White Pine Counties a few years back. As I understand it from some County Assessors, SNWA has now defaulted on some of these very expensive ranch purchases at big loses, now they want to borrow money or float bonds that you get to pay back! Those huge financial loses on the properties SNWA purchased are Ms. Mulroy's responsiblity and she must be held accountable for waste of public money and the huge loses. Pat Mulroy is one really scary bureaucrat.
Here we go again, State Engineer Grants SNWA Rights
This Water Grab by Las Vegas could destroy the Ground Water Resources in parts of Eastern Nevada, Western Utah, and Southern Idaho over time.
We will explore further SNWA's plans for Rural Nevada, later.
Then came the drought—at a magnitude that had no probability of occurring, according to U.S. Bureau of Reclamation models based on a century of historical data. Science of yesterday, in the big picture, a century of data, barely counts as a data base. In the blink of an eye, half a decades work to manage the Colorado River and meet the supply requirement and commitments has faded, as have the water levels in the Colorado River’s two prime reservoirs. Lake Mead and Lake Powell.
Climate change and global warming predictions aside, demographic shift projections are clear, 8000 Americans turn 60 years old per day today and the migration West will continue for around twenty more years. The peak birth year was 1960; they are currently 50 years old! Many are looking to the State of Nevada as their future home, for many reasons, weather, no state income taxes, etc. The shift has already begun and Las Vegas, Mesquite, Coyote Springs, Toquop may be just the beginning. Water as everyone knows is vital to sustain life.
Water Rights will be more valuable than oil or gold one day soon!
Agricultural Farm and Ranch Land in Nevada with Water Rights is a Very Limited Resource. Development or transition Potential Ranch Land with Water Rights is even scarcer.
97% of Lincoln County Nevada is public lands. For information on future BLM public land auctions possible through the Lincoln County congressional land act allowing the sale of public lands which was passed in 2000. Contact the Caliente BLM office at 775-726-8100. The lands are auctioned without water rights.
John Wesley Powell told the International Irrigation Congress in Los Angeles in 1893
“You are piling up a heritage of conflict and litigation over the water rights, there is no sufficient water to supply the land.”
Many scientific studies today seem to be confirming Mr. Powell's thoughts.