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GBWN TO US SENATE: CAN THE COLORADO RIVER REALLY SERVE 800K NEW VEGAS RESIDENTS?

Baker, NV – Today the Great Basin Water Network released the following statement after the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining held a hearing on the Southern Nevada Economic Development and Conservation Act, legislation that will invite hundreds of thousands of more people to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Area without identifying sustainable water supplies to serve future generations of residents.
 

“The outlook on the Colorado River should be a warning to all who claim that we must pass this bill as written for a fast-warming region in the nation’s driest state,” said Kyle Roerink, Executive Director of GBWN. “Before passing consequential legislation that will invite hundreds of thousands of more people to Southern Nevada by selling off 42,000 acres of public lands, we should be doing the work to shore up Southern Nevada’s water supply in a way that is equitable, affordable, and sustainable. There is no language in this measure that achieves those ends.”

READ OUR LETTER TO SENATOR CORTEZ MASTO AND THE COMMITTEE: GBWN Senate ENR Comments on SNEDCA 6.15.21

Background:

The Great Basin Water Network advocates for water conservation and sustainability in the nation’s two driest states, Nevada and Utah. We worked to stop one of the largest groundwater import projects in the nation’s history, the Las Vegas Pipeline, which would have siphoned 58 billion gallons of water away from Eastern Nevada and Western Utah annually.

The Southern Nevada Economic Development and Conservation Act threatens our years of work. As Lake Mead reaches historic lows, the delegation should not be championing bills that will strain the water supply in the region. Models show that Southern Nevada residents could need a new water supply as soon as 2056. If that turns out to be true, where will the new water come from?

Additionally, as Nevada deals with the realities at Lake Mead, other western states are working at breakneck speed to withdraw more water out of the Colorado River and its tributaries. Entities in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico all have plans to take more water out of a river that is already running a deficit.

Rather than relying on the tired 20th Century style lands bills, we need legislation that tackles our 21st Century challenges.

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