Water…an issue that affects us all. I recently pulled a report from the state department of water resources. That report listed fifteen groups that use our water resources.
The total usage per year was approximately 92,000-acre-feet of water; and, the largest uses of water is irrigation at 51,450, followed by municipal at 30,800. The number of gallons per acre-foot is an astounding 325,851 gallons. The recharge rate — water we receive from rainfall and snow melt — was last estimated to be 49,000 acre-feet.
While all snow-melt runs to groundwater, Mother Nature has not informed our hydrologists where and how far it reaches or how deep collects. Further compounding the issue are two facts about the water beneath our feet.
- Fact 1: The water we see at the surface is groundwater, which slowly seeps into the area it collects – the aquifer.
- Fact 2: The aquifer is comprised of elevations whose slopes dictate its journey underground.
- Fact 3: There is a third “collection pond”, so-to-speak, where water has been stored since the last ice age. It is known as “ancient water,” which can run as deep as five-thousand feet.
Our immediate needs rely on groundwater and the aquifer. Those are our prime sources. Over time, hydrologists have measured and recorded the aquifer’s depth. In drought years, the depth increases. Heavy rain and snow years take a great deal of time to show measurable improvements in aquifer depths.
So, what can we infer from this?
First: Regardless of the current weather, the aquifer will take time to recover from what we’ve extracted; and, second: We can ameliorate the shrinking of the aquifer by conserving our water usage. Other factors at play – right this minute – threaten our sources of water now and in the future.
You may have heard of a pipeline to various parts of Nevada that would siphon rural water for Las Vegas. Admittedly, Las Vegas is the largest population center in our state, and it has grown exponentially over the last twenty years due to unbridled expansion and continuous building with no concern for infrastructure to provide life-giving water.
Their city councilmen are more concerned about the well-being of the building industry than they are for their citizens. It should be clear to everyone here in Douglas County their over-burdening of their water supplies in favor of profit threatens our water.
We may not control what Las Vegas does; but, we certainly have control of our water supplies. Here in Douglas County, we have been advised that if we don’t use our water, it will be taken from us by the Water Lords of Las Vegas.
It’s a use-it-or-lose-it proposition with unintended consequences. The BOCC’s preferred method of use-it-or-lose-it involves approving unfettered housing developments. Following such a course of action runs roughshod over our Master Plan’s purpose to keep our valley rural, scenic, and quiet. Isn’t it time we codified our Master Plan into law?
Elect Walt Nowosad for Commissioner
Please vote for me so I can assist in returning deliberative and honest processes to the Board of County Commissioners and keep our county rural, scenic, and quiet.