Vegas will cross deserts for water
Minden and Las Vegas come pretty close to sharing a birthday. Both places were founded in 1906, but while Minden grew into a beautiful small town, Las Vegas grew into a water guzzling behemoth that dominates the entire state.
While Minden still exists well within the limits of its resources, the city of Las Vegas and its suburbs continue to grow, despite its location in the middle of a vast desert.
Water for the metropolis barely 106 years old came from its aquifer and then from Lake Mead, which was created not far from its boundaries.
But those resources hit their limit some time ago, and Vegas water authorities have been casting a covetous eye north seeking someplace new to drink.
On Thursday the Nevada state engineer approved four new watering holes for Las Vegas along the eastern boundary of the state.
While documentation shows few people live in the valleys raided by the Southern Nevada Water Authority, two of the valleys are right next door to Ely and Pioche.
The furthest Las Vegas has gone for water so far is 175 miles, a little less than half the distance it would have to travel if it sought water in Carson Valley.
We can pretend that extra 225 miles will keep our water safe from Las Vegas’ grasp. That the California Aqueduct is 701 miles should not be a comfort.
The state engineer was clear that it’s not his job to limit growth in the Las Vegas Valley. And if that growth continues, the city will continue to seek new sources of water.
If water will flow uphill to money, then it won’t find 400 miles of desert to be much of an impediment.