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No SNWA Pipeline! Let's Keep the SPRING in Spring Valley!
by Barbara Richardson
Monday Jun 4th, 2012 5:30 PM
539 members of the Goshute tribe in western Utah are all that stand between the Southern Nevada Water Authority and a proposed multi-billion-dollar pipeline that would “pump billions of gallons of groundwater” from the Goshutes’ home in Spring Valley “to parched Las Vegas,” in a 92" wide pipe that would run for 300 miles.

But how parched is Las Vegas—with its velvety golf courses, casino swimming pools and glittering public fountains—compared to the Deep Creek Valley Goshute Reservation, which receives the lowest annual rainfall in the state of Utah?

A cover article in Salt Lake's City Weekly alerted me to this disaster in the making. The Goshutes, who are on the leading edge of the SNWA water fight, have a different approach to water—one we would all do well to study. They revere it.

“In the Goshute language . . . water is referred to as a human being, a living entity. It is in the water that the spirits of their ancestors reside. If the water goes to Las Vegas’ fountains and man-made Venetian canals, the spirits will go there, too.” So says Rupert Steele, former chairman of the council of the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation.

According to the BLM’s Environmental Impact Statement, groundwater pumping in these rural valleys would damage 300 springs and 120 miles of streams.


From the Goshute Tribe website:

“SNWA’s groundwater development application is the biggest threat to the Goshute way of life since European settlers first arrived on Goshute lands more than 150 years ago.” The Goshutes request our help in acknowledging their rights and addressing their concerns.

Please support the Goshutes and local ranchers who are about to have their water pumped out from under them. The BLM’s environmental review comes out this July for public comment, with a final decision about the pipeline in September. We need to draw national attention to the SNWA’s proposed water grab now.

Water—the very lifeblood of the entire nation of Goshutes, and of the local ranchers already living at the edge of survival—can't be harvested like wheat or mined like coal.

Not with a citizenry who says NO.

Imagine a 92" pipeline running through your back yard. Then do something:

Forward this blog link and/or talk to friends interested in sustainability and water equity. Get them to spread the message and links afar.

Contact local writers and any powerful journalists you know, to help generate national attention. Writing letters to local newspapers would also be great.

Volunteer for and contribute to the Great Basin Water Network—the volunteer environmental group dedicated to terminating the pipeline.

Attend the Snake Valley Festival, a fun fundraising weekend to support GBWN, June 15-17.

Contribute time and money to the Goshute Nation.

Contribute to Center for Biological Diversity, who have lobbied tirelessly on this issue, and have raised awareness about the Las Vegas water grab. Thank them for their work.

Leave comments on the BLM’s draft environmental impact statement. Comments may be mailed: Penny Woods, BLM Project Manager, PO Box 12000, Reno, NV 89520, faxed: 775-861-6689, or emailed: nvgwprojects [at] blm.gov.

Help raise a ruckus! You will be glad you did. And the Goshutes, ranchers, foxes, snakes, gophers, and countless flocks of resident birds who nestle in the swamp cedars of beautiful Spring Valley, Utah, will thank you, too. Let’s keep the spring in Spring Valley.



Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Joe Hogan, Assemblyman, District 10
Wednesday Jun 6th, 2012 5:30 PM
So far the only politician brave enough to vocalize opposition to the SNWA pipeline;

Joe Hogan, Assemblyman, District 10

•Water Pipeline vs. Water Conservation

As many of you may know, I have been very cautious about the plans of the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) to build a hugely expensive 300+ mile water pipeline system. The following statement summarizes my views on this important issue.

1. What will it cost? The SNWA seldom states any cost figures, but when pressed, may suggest two or three billion dollars. Some believe 300-plus miles of pipeline to be built in the 2013-2018 timeframe would cost more like $6-10 billion or more. No approval should be considered until we have reliable, detailed estimates of the costs.

2. What will be the environmental effects? Until late 2006, the federal agencies responsible for protecting the planet all had serious objections. Suddenly, just hours before a September, 2006 state hearing on environmental concerns, the four federal agencies abruptly withdrew all their objections. Before any vote on this is taken, we need to know how the predicted environmental disaster can be avoided and whether the federal agencies will again pursue their earlier concerns.

3. Can the SNWA handle such a project? Recent revelations of waste and overspending on the Springs Preserve, purchasing huge ranches for 3-5 times their actual value, and paying Washington lobbyists hundreds of thousands of dollars year after year with no competition (for information easily obtained without cost from our federal congressional delegation) raise critical questions about organizational competence. The County Commission must consider establishing a pipeline authority if we were to go forward.

Finally, we must consider that last month’s sudden demand for an immediate decision probably results from SNWA's realization that citizens know we will have very limited growth in coming years and that more effective conservation programs, especially conservation pricing of water, may eliminate the need for a pipeline altogether.

Any Board Member who supports this unneeded early commitment without hard data on cost, conservation and competence of SNWA is putting the future of our valley and the economy of our state at risk. Common sense demands that we first answer these critical questions before committing our citizens to fund what could become the largest and most expensive project ever considered in Nevada.



While we often critique politicians who do wrong, we should also give positive encouragement to politicians like Joe Hogan who speak out for the best interest of the public depsite powerful opposition from the SNWA status quo.

Thanks Joe Hogan!