“It’s unclear exactly how much potentially flawed plastic water and sewer pipes that are the subject of a whistle-blower lawsuit are buried underground in Reno-Sparks and other Northern Nevada communities but the amount is significant, officials said the day after a federal jury decided against the pipe manufacturer.”
“Rural neighbors of an abandoned World War II-era copper mine that has leaked toxic chemicals in northern Nevada for decades have won up to a $19.5 million settlement from companies they accused of covering up the contamination.”
“That’s about all Southwestern water users can do as the drought-stricken Colorado River enters what figures to be its most important snow season in recent memory.
“After 14 years of record drought, it will take an unusually wet year — one like the basin saw in 2011 — to stave off the first-ever water shortages on the overdrawn river and slow the decline of its two main reservoirs.”
“Southeast of Las Vegas at another federal tourist attraction, it was business as usual. Hoover Dam’s visitors services remained open to the public despite the government shutdown. That’s because operation of the facility is not dependent on funds appropriated by Congress.
“The government shutdown will, however, close Lake Mead National Recreation Area.”
“The Southern Nevada Water Authority board has signed off a new tunneling project at Lake Mead that officials describe as an emergency meant to avoid an emergency.
“Thursday’s unanimous vote essentially ratifies a project already underway that would extend the life of the oldest and shallowest of two intake pipes and pumping stations the community now uses to draw about 90 percent of its drinking water supply from the reservoir.”
“Pat Mulroy, one of the most powerful executives in the state, said Monday she is going to retire as general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, where she has worked aggressively to ensure that Las Vegas doesn’t go dry. …
“Mulroy, who became boss of the water authority when it was created in 1991, said she hasn’t set a date and will prepare an ‘orderly transition.’”
“Plaintiffs and defendants in the recently decided coordinated Quantification Settlement Agreement lawsuits have filed motions to recoup attorneys’ fees, with one party seeking nearly $53 million.
“The Morgan/Holtz Parties seek $52,762,358.62 from Imperial Irrigation District, San Diego County Water Authority, Metropolitan Water District, Coachella Valley Water District, state of California, city of Escondido and Vista Irrigation District, defendants in the lawsuits.”
“With Lake Mead shrinking and a new deep-water straw still far from finished, the Southern Nevada Water Authority plans to declare an emergency and fast-track a new $12 million construction project aimed at securing the valley’s water supply through next summer. …
“On Aug. 7, the head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority called for federal disaster relief to address the consequences of water scarcity in the Colorado River system. On Friday, the Bureau of Reclamation announced it would be forced to cut the flow of water into Lake Mead in 2014 to a historic low.
“After back-to-back driest years in a century on the Colorado River, federal water managers are giving Arizona and Nevada a 50-50 chance of having their water deliveries cut in 2016, unless the Rocky Mountains get more winter snow than in recent years.
“The top water official in Las Vegas is floating the idea of seeking federal disaster aid to deal with ongoing drought and decreasing water levels at the Colorado River reservoir that provides most of Sin City’s water.
“With federal water managers due next week to release Lake Mead water level forecasts, Southern Nevada Water Authority chief Pat Mulroy told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that she thinks drought could hurt the Southwest as much as Superstorm Sandy did the Atlantic seaboard in 2012.”
“A small community of Paiute Indians who for decades have lived in the shadow of a coal-fired power plant used to pump water through California aqueducts is suing to force the plant’s owners to clean up the toxic mess left behind, and they’ve got some powerful allies.”
“Northern Nevadans were still drying out Tuesday evening, after wild weather inundated the Truckee Meadows for several hours.
“Rain hammered parts of California and Northern Nevada Tuesday. So much water fell in such a short amount of time, the mountains above I-80 near Floriston couldn’t handle it. The hillside gave way, covering westbound lanes with three to eight inches of mud and debris.”