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Know the West

Water wishes


I admired the foresight of many of your Western "Wishers" for Obama. However, none of them mentioned water (HCN, 12/22/08). Great Basin Water Network seeks an end to giant water pipelines, the ones that take water from the West's magnificent landscapes, wildlife, livestock and crops and send that water to unsustainable urban sprawl. The environmental, social and financial costs are very high, and the need is highly speculative. The nation needs a water policy that respects the concepts of reasonable growth in urban areas, but also honors and respects the rural West. In Nevada and western Utah, squeezing water out of the desert is like squeezing blood from a turnip. There's a little there, but don't bet on the long term.

 After reading this last issue, one must also wonder how soon good science will replace the hocus-pocus of the last administration. We are told by the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) to "trust" the environmental protection rules. But really, who can in this day and age? Especially when taxpayers are providing an Interior employee to act as liaison between Interior and SNWA. Tell us again how it's a good water policy that robs ranchers of their livelihoods, rural communities of their lifestyles, and urban areas of their milk, cheese, meat, wool, tourism and other products. Will we have to make the awful choice between water for cities and food for the country? A larger water policy is required that balances these needs with efficiency and fairness.

Susan Lynn
Great Basin Water Network
Reno, Nevada